After my third son was born nine years ago, I wondered if maybe I should have a fourth child. No, it’s not what you’re thinking: It wasn’t to try for a girl. I was worried about having an uneven number of children, particularly when it came to situations like visiting amusement parks.
“Who will Little Dude ride the rollercoaster with?” I lamented to my husband while gazing at our newborn dude.
That concern was not enough to convince my husband to go for kid number four. And maybe the insane cost of college had something to do with it too. So, our family of five is complete. For the most part, it’s not that much different when we had two kids. We can still fit into a regular sedan if necessary, and we can cram into a hotel room that allows rollaway beds. The only time it feels different is when we ski and when we go to an amusement park.
For skiing, depending on the chair lift, we split up as two and three since most lifts accommodate up to 3 or 4 people. For the occasional two-person lift, my husband agrees to ride alone.
An amusement park ride is a different story. Again, some rides fit several people in one row. But, the traditional roller coaster with two seats per row is a problem. Especially when both parents are wimps and refuse to go on it. Yes, that would be us.
We visited Universal Studios theme park last week and didn’t expect for there to be so many scary rides. The studio tour was a piece of cake, but when we got to the Simpsons Ride — which had a big sign in front cautioning people against motion sickness, simulated big drops, and high speeds — I immediately said, “I’m out.” My husband, not a big fan of heights or even simulated heights, echoed me immediately.
Following our lead, Little Dude decided against going on the ride. Problem solved, because I knew it was a two seat per row set-up. When his two brothers returned from the ride, they raved about it, and I knew Little Dude felt regret about not joining them. I resolved to be braver for the next ride so Little Dude wouldn’t be left out.
We made our way over to the Jurassic Park ride, which was essentially a water flume ride with dinosaurs along the way. For some reason, I can handle flume rides – I love them! So, I raced over to the line and declared that this was one ride we could all do together. My husband grew a little pale when he read that there was an 84-foot plunge, but I told him to “man up.” The best part about the ride: all five of us fit in one row. And we all had fun! Except you know that picture they take of you as the flume is descending? Let’s just say only two of us had our eyes open on the way down and it wasn’t my husband or me.
Feeling confident after our wet and wild adventure, we walked over to the Transformers Ride. Again, there was a large sign warning us of simulated spins, drops, and scary images. I knew Little Dude wanted to go, but was waiting for my husband or me to go with him. We both hemmed and hawed and then decided to ask the guy working the line how scary it was. He sensed how hesitant three of us were and offered to take all five of us back to the control room to show us the ride. So, we followed him through some back doors and he showed us the ride on TV screen monitors, where I suppose they watch for any malfunctions (how comforting, NOT). The ride looked harmless enough on the TVs so we all agreed to go. Big mistake. No, HUGE mistake.
Don’t get me wrong: all three dudes thought the ride was “awesome.” And for the first two minutes, it was. But, then the spinning, lunging, and dropping started, all while having these giant transformers come at you, with your 3-D glasses exacerbating the effect. I thought I was going to projectile hurl yesterday’s lunch. I kept my eyes closed for the remainder of the ride, and apparently so did my husband. After the first simulated drop, he began having heart palpitations and thought he was going to need a defibrillator by the end of the ride.
I know that more visits to amusement parks are still to come over the years. And we will be faced with the same problem of having an odd number of people who want to go on the rides. However, I’ve got the perfect solution: Anti-anxiety meds for my husband and Dramamine for me. Then, we’ll be good to go.