The really long Disneyland write up…

Disneyland was sooooo much fun.

At first I thought I had made a huge mistake coming. We got off to a bad start when I somehow I took a wrong street in and got funneled off into the forgotten Pumba parking lot. The Pumba parking lot is for the exiled. It is seriously about three miles from the park with no shuttle service. That’s all fine and good because there are plenty of people to follow so you don’t get lost but I wasted at least a half an hour just hoofing it there and then standing in line to get a ticket.

Disneyland is insanely popular on the weekend. And even more insane on a holiday weekend. Who goes to Disneyland on St. Patrick’s Day? Apparently everyone. Here’s my first piece of advice: If you want to visit Disneyland, please please PLEASE go on a weekday and try to make it during the winter. If you can go in the rain, even better. Because believe me, it is really really scary when you’re trying to make your way through the bottle neck that is Fantasy Land and you can barely put one foot in front of the other. Poor Baby Bug’s eyes were almost popping out of her head. It was just so much all at once. The music coming out of the sky, people coming at her from all directions and touching her and then so so so so much to look at. It must have been like an acid trip for her.

Thankfully, the worst of the pressing crowd was just Fantasy Land itself. I think that’s where everyone heads first. It’s a straight shot from the entrance through the big pink castle and it’s mostly for kids. Pretty much everyone there is with kids so it makes sense that Fantasy Land is a sweaty squealing mosh pit of strollers. I couldn’t get out fast enough. My second piece of advice: Don’t go to Fantasy Land first. Take a side route. Visit Frontier Land. Go anywhere else. You can do the tea cups and Snow Whites scary lurching cart ride later. You’ll thank me.

I met up with my family at “It’s a Small World” and that’s when the fun really started. Baby Bug LOVED LOVED LOVED “It’s a Small World”. She kept saying “Wow, wow, wow WoWWWWW, WOW!” over and over before we even got inside. She’d never seen such a big “tick tock” before. It was like a story book come to life for her. When we were inside, I think both my mom and I had way more fun watching her than we did looking at anything else.

I remember my teenage years and how much I hated “It’s a Small World”. It was so boring. I had no idea that one day I would find it exactly the opposite. I can’t even describe how wonderful it is to watch your baby exclaim her joy over funny moving singing dolls. It was my little niece Super Chick’s first visit too and she did not disappoint with her exclamations over the mermaids.

After that we headed to Toon Town and probably wasted half our day trying to figure out what to eat for lunch. That’s my third piece of advice for future Disneyland adventurers: Have a plan. Take twenty minutes out of your morning and decide amongst your group where you’d like to go and where you’d like to eat. Don’t be like us and traverse back and forth across the park on any given whim.

This is mostly my fault and I feel terrible about it because I think I cost my nieces some valuable time with the Princesses which they’ve waited all year to meet. I didn’t have any expectations. I figured I couldn’t really go on rides because of Baby Bug so I was content to leisurely stroll all day. Unfortunately my leisurely strolling ideas ended up taking my family with me and we spent the whole day strolling. Except by the end of the day it felt more like trudging.

We did hit the Jungle Cruise and guess what? They’ve changed something. I thought I’d seen it all but there is a fun surprise at the end that scared me right out of my skin. But in a good way. Even Baby Bug thought it was funny. She loved the elephants and the head hunters banging on their drums. Speaking of drums, she loved the Enchanted Tiki room with all it’s clicky wooden singing flowers too, of course. How could she not. Everything I used to hate is fun again.

I didn’t take very many pictures because I had Baby Bug strapped to me for most of the day and I’m kinda awkward with the camera when she’s lurching every which way off the front of me. When I left my car I thought, “Oh, I’ll just leave the stroller in the car and come back for it later when I need it.” Big mistake. There is no time for going back to your car when it takes you half an hour to get there. Going there an back takes an entire HOUR! What a huge colossal waste of time. But I did go back because the baby carrier got very hot and sweaty and Baby Bug was dying to get out and experience things. I hate it when she jumps off my legs with her feet. It can make it very difficult to walk. So back to the car we went to get the stroller and some cooler clothes.

That would be my fourth piece of advice: When you leave your car, take everything you need. By the time you come back, the temperature will have completely changed (along with the time zone) and you won’t need that short sleeved shirt you went out there for in the first place. Don’t be like me. Take everything or just tough it out.

The stroller was nice though. It was perfect for Baby Bug to take a nap in. She took a huge long nap right in the middle of everything. She didn’t even flinch as I drove her right past an Irish Band singing very loud jig music. I think she was exhausted. She needed to recharge her battery after all that excitement in “It’s a Small World”.

It’s a good thing she recharged because after that we did some swing dancing in the Carnation Plaza with my nieces. Whoooeeee that was fun! We didn’t know the steps like all the other whirling couples but we had a lot of fun holding hands and spinning around like silly kids. I love being a kid. Baby Bug loves being a kid. She kept pointing and shouting “Bebe! Bebe!” at all the other kids her size. I think she would have been perfectly content just to people watch all day. I know I would have.

Speaking of people watching…Disneyland is an amazing swatch of humanity. Did you know that 80 percent of people who visit Disneyland are overweight? It’s really strange. I don’t think I saw anyone over the age of thirteen who wasn’t carrying at least 20 extra pounds. Maybe I’ve just been living in the plastic Orange County too long where everyone is anorexic with fake boobs. Whatever, it sure motivated me to pick up the pace and never wear too small clothes again.

Can you tell I did a lot of people watching? That’s what we did while the rest of my family rode the “scary” rides. I’m super paranoid of anything being “frightening” to Baby Bug. My brother rolls his eyes at me. I didn’t want to take Baby Bug on a lot of the rides because I was afraid they might give her nightmares. I’m just funny that way. I had a lot of nightmares as a child and I don’t want her to go through that. At least not for a while.

She just seems so little and fragile to me. It was like pulling teeth for me to let my brother watch her while I rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Even though she was safely strapped into her stroller sleeping and my brother is a six foot two-hundred-and-something pound scary looking guy, I couldn’t help myself from turning around every five minutes in line just to make sure she was okay. I kept imagining strangers stealing her or that she would wake up and not see me and be overcome with fear. Of course she was fine and was still fast asleep when I got off the ride. I’m just a worry wart.

This silliness reminds me of my fear of losing my stroller. What can I say? I saved up for a year to buy that stroller. It seems like a good thing to steal to me. When we were parking the stroller outside the Tiki Room (along with about fifty other strollers all loaded up with valuable looking back packs and diaper bags) I voiced my fear out loud to a Disneyland employee. He stopped and looked at me like I had just landed there from outer space.

“Nobody steals strollers.” He said to me, like Duh, I was the dumbest person on earth.

I guess he’s right but man, it was hard to let go. I kept having flashbacks to the time my Guess jeans got stolen out of my locker in eight grade. I always lose things that are valuable to me. That’s why I never leave things. Not my stroller or Baby Bug. But you have to let go. I’m just not ready.

All in all, it was a stupendous good time. Even the food was good (which surprised me). I strongly recommend the Mexican restaurant in Frontier Land hosted by Ortega Salsa. Yummy Red Chile enchiladas! I almost want to get a year pass and take Baby Bug over and over again. You know, so we can practice and get good at it. So I don’t forget things like a second pair of clean pants and a cooler shirt and the stroller in the parking lot that is three miles away. What is up with that anyway? Why is there no love for Pumba?

Now that I’m done typing the night away… it is time for a little bit of “Wow, wow, wow WoWWWWW, WOW”ing!

Maybe you’d also like to see the souvenir I got for Baby Bug. Bwahahahaha!

I know. This toy is probably more likely to give her nightmares. I’m full of contradictions.

*Phew! If you made it all the way down here, you deserve a prize.

Baby Bug’s First Trip to the ER

Why is my laptop in the kitchen on Baby Bug’s high chair? It is there because my stool has been banished to the outside patio and I need a place to sit when I play on my computer (during her nap of course). My stool, that stupid $%#!@ stool, got pulled over upon a poor baby who bruised her hand and cried bloody murder for so long and so hard that we had to take her to the emergency room.

Yep. Baby Bug got her first trip to the ER on Sunday. What a fun way to spend the day together as a family, right? Oh no.

I hate the ER. I know it’s a necessary evil and it could save our lives but it is the worst worst WORST place to while away your time when you are in distress. Especially when you are distressed about your little baby.

The ER is less efficient than the DMV. It’s a cocktail of DMV style administration combined with two-hundred some stressed-out, disgruntled, over-worked employees mixed with with all the pain in the world. Kids with axes stuck in their heads and death and bodily fluids! Then, add about a million years of red tape and insurance forms written by teams or lawyers and you have a…. Party!

I know it could be so much worse and it is in other countries but it is just maddening how things go down there. If only there was a better way. I know this whole subject is political and I really have no business getting on my soap box about anything to do with anything regarding politics. But there has to be a better way to run things. And our hospital is supposed to be one of the best hospitals!

We really didn’t need to go to the ER but there was that small chance that Baby Bug had fractured one of her hand bones (is that the proper way to say that?) and we didn’t want it to swell and cause us worse problems later in the night when the Emergency Room is even more crazy. She was crying more than usual and looking down at her puffy purple hand like it was really causing her some pain. It didn’t help that I didn’t realize it was her hand that was hurt and I went and lifted her by her hands to get her over the baby gate. Smooth move, mom. I felt horrible. My poor baby!

Four hours after we arrived at the ER, we decided that we really didn’t need to be there. Baby Bug was fine. She was putting weight on her hand all the time and wiggling all around like a little worm. She wanted me to walk her around the busy waiting room (holding her by her hands). She wanted to eat snacks (with her sore hand) from my secret stash in my purse. She wanted to make friends with all the other patients (and wave with her sore hand). She wanted to throw her pacifier down on the dirty floor (with her sore hand) and make me go rinse it off in the bathroom over and over and over again. She was FINE.

There were so many other people who were not fine. One guy was lying on the floor groaning in a pool of his own vomit, reminding me so much of myself when I visited the ER with my gallbladder illness. There was a three year old with a bloody eyeball being held by his dad who’s striped blue shirt was covered in blood. It was all so horrible and there we were with a perfectly healthy happy wiggly baby. It just seemed wrong. We didn’t belong there. We were wasting their time and ours.

But it got wrong-er.

I decided that we needed to leave and we needed them to rip up our paperwork so they wouldn’t have to bill our insurance and cause us a whole bunch of red tape headache. I approached the triage cubicle as politely as I could. I finally got a nurse’s attention and told her my intent. She understood but she told me I should wait because there were only three people waiting in front of us. “Just wait a moment,” she said. Something I heard a lot of. She would check on the list and see how much longer it would be. She could squeeze us in, and we really should stay, she implored. An hour later, we were still waiting.

I checked with her again. She rushed us back behind the swinging doors to talk to a discharge nurse who would “get us on our way”. Or so we thought. In reality, nobody was getting us anywhere. They checked Baby Bug’s chart and told us we really should stay because they could do an x-ray today and that would save us a whole lot of hassle. So we stayed.

We holed up in a little chair between the swinging doors, the nurse’s station and the hallway. Several more minutes went by. Charts were checked and lost and found and checked again. Somebody said somebody was “putting the order in” and then somebody would “walk us over to radiology.” So we waited some more. And some more, and then some more after that. Then someone came and took Baby Bug’s insurance card and had me sign a form that said I would pay through the nose if my insurance company decided not to pay. Then we waited some more while Baby Bug’s insurance card was off in some distant land being copied.

By now Baby Bug was two hours past her usual afternoon nap time and she was getting mighty cranky. Nothing the nurses and doctor’s couldn’t ignore, of course, since they are used to hearing much worse things day in and day out. But I really was starting to lose my cool. I just wanted to leave. Why couldn’t I leave? I really just want to get out of their hair. I know there are more pressing patients that need care. Just let me go.

Finally, I walked down the hallway and asked the nearest nurse to please direct me to the copy machine so I could retrieve my daughter’s insurance card and LEAVE. X-ray, schmex-ray. We could deal with this so much easier tomorrow with our regular doctor. We could probably walk over to radiology by ourselves and deal with it so much better but I realize they have procedures that need to be followed. I really don’t want to be the bad customer who rants and raves. I just want to cut my losses and get out.

Of course my words weren’t as eloquent as they should have been, Baby Bug was crying and my blood pressure was elevated. Things were said that should not have been said. It was another showdown in the halls of the hospital. The nurse had to raise her voice with me and explain that it would only be “a moment longer”. But I was done with “moments” by then. My baby needed to be home. There were other babies who needed their “moments” worse than my baby did.

Finally, we got the insurance card and Toby and I and Baby Bug stormed out the swinging exit doors. It’s just so maddening because what was accomplished here? Will they feel bad that the inefficiency of the system pissed off another customer and they lost a thousand bucks because we just couldn’t wait “a moment longer”? No. This probably happens every day. They’ll probably just write me off as another high strung mother who doesn’t understand how things work. I’m the one leaving with anger. Why? Of course I have the luxury of ranting about it on the internet but still. Nothing was accomplished. It was a waste of time.

What really is depressing to me is that I know I will have to go back. Baby Bug will probably get hurt again. It’s part of being a kid. I know I should be thankful that we even have an emergency room to go to. I know there are countries out there that don’t but I just am NOT ready to go through that again. Thankfully, this time we did it without Baby Bug being in major pain. I can’t even imagine the horror it would be if she were. I guess I’m just going to be a lot more careful about big stools that can be pulled over.

Edited to add by Toby: The most frustrating thing for us was that we didn’t want any special treatment. I understand why they are understaffed—half their money goes to paying for people who don’t have insurance or citizenship. We didn’t want to bother them at all. We thought it would it best for them if they would just delegate us somewhere else, like Radiology. But they are so handcuffed by all their stupid federal forms and purchase orders, that they couldn’t get rid of us to save themselves.