My sister loves to tell people that when I was a kid, I wanted to be three inches tall. She usually blurts it out at a random moment, with no background or lead-up. There we are, just eating, and then it’s pass the salt and did you know when Lisa was little she wanted to be a Smurf? In some sense, she’s right. In the sense that I read every Littles book, watched The Smurfs, and thought Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was the best idea. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was my idea; someone must have stolen it from my fourth-grade journal. But what kid didn’t want to escape his or her own life to end up in some sort of exciting adventure? And Smurfette had a lot of dresses. Okay, they all looked exactly alike, but they were cute.
Yesterday, we took the kids to Legoland. Legos were a toy my mom never bought us but that I loved to play with at our neighbors’. And they allowed a lot of imaginative play with people who were about one and a half inches tall. So you’ll probably understand why I thought Miniland USA was the best part of Legoland. The worst part? Everything else.
First of all, its real name is Toddlerland, as in Introduce Your Toddler to the Idea of Exhausting and Expensive Theme Parks Land. Everywhere we turned were double strollers, kids on leashes (which I think should be reported to CPS, because it just seems mean), and, by five o’clock, rampant temper tantrums. And the rides confirmed any suspicions I had about the appropriate age for Legoland; they were an introduction to roller coasters, but I’m not sure why any young couple would pay $110 (one adult and one child) to ride a mediocre roller coaster. Why not go to a county fair or Funtown and hop on the merry-go-round?
Yeah, there were some cool things made of Legos—although I don’t know why Arnold Schwarzenegger gets a bust made out of Legos next to Mozart, George Washington, and Albert Einstein. And bathroom lines behind sticky four-year-olds and tired moms? Not too fun. I did see one woman with her own portable potty for her kids. Smart thinking. It folded up into the size of a briefcase and fit in the basket on the stroller. We watched her dispose of a bag of pee … if only we could get all five hundred thousand parents to bring that, so I could use the toilet without following three-year-old Johnny, who pees everywhere but in the toilet bowl.
It was also the whitest theme park I had ever been to—I don’t know if that’s because white people in So Cal are the only ones dumb enough to spring sixty bucks to get into stroller and screaming-kid world and then blow eight bucks on a kids’ meal. Note to self: when making this observation, be aware of who’s listening. After I commented on the demographic to Will, Katie said loudly “Did you say whitest theme park, or widest?” Widest. That’s totally what I said, Katie.
But by the end of the day, Katie (nine) and Stepson (thirteen) seemed to have fun. They never really complained about how juvenile it was. And lucky for us, we had two free tickets for the library, because otherwise we would have never gone. I had more fun at Stone Brewery in Escondido, where my husband took us to dinner. It’s a little out of the way, but the restaurant is gorgeous and the food is fantastic. Of course, Will went for the beer, and then another, and then one more … so I drove home. But while we were there, he imagined designing his own brewery with fire pits outside. And since we couldn’t go to France for our anniversary, we tried to get a shot of the two of us in front of the Lego Eiffel Tower.