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Old 05-27-2014, 01:52 PM   #1
Stacybaeasm
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There's a reason I'm not a parent!

Hello all! I just got back from a special trip with my 12 year old niece. And let me tell you, that 1 week was all it took to confirm that I was NEVER meant to be a parent. Honestly, I don't know how all you parents do it. Hats off to all of you. Maybe I'm set in my ways, maybe I've been on my own for too long, or maybe I truly don't have a maternal instinct. Any way you look at it, it was a LONG week and the only time in my life I have ever actually said "When do we leave Disney?"

First, a little background. Like most of us here, Disney World is my happy place. I lived in Florida 8 years ago for about 2.5 years. I was an annual pass holder during that time and made it up to the World once or twice a month, as time and finances allowed. When I left to move to St. Louis, I promised that I would be back on a regular basis, and I have kept that promise. I manage to get down for a week long visit once or twice a year and have kept my annual pass as a result. A few years ago, my niece asked why I loved going so much and we got to chatting about everything you could do at Disney. She's been to Magic Kingdom for a day visit twice in her life, but she didn't know about all the other stuff that was available. So, I made a rash promise on the spur of the moment - "I promise to take you and your brother for individual trips when you are old enough." Well, at the time it seemed like a great idea. Fast forward a few years and I was sitting in my brother's house around Christmas and said "So kid, do you want to go to Disney with me in May?" And thus, the promise became a reality. Of course, her little brother (she's 12 and her brother is 6) immediately said "I want to go too." So, I explained that you had to be 12 to go on the trip and he would get his own, personal trip with me when he reached the ripe old age of 12.

There was a lot more planning that went into this trip than what I usually do. Of course, fastpass plus made some of that necessary. BUT, what does a 12 year old girl want to do at Disney? I realize I ACT like I"m 12 when I'm running around the world, but, do we like the same things? How do I handle all the rides? What does she eat? Oy vey! We were finally able to settle on a week in May (I needed to be done with school - I teach at a college) and since she is in 6th grade, I figured she could miss a little bit of school without missing a ton. SIDE NOTE - I don't say that to offend teachers. I come from a long line of educators myself. I just mean, it's easier to miss some school in elementary than it is in middle or high school. Plus, we might never have gotten to take the trip if I waited until she was done with school. Minnesota had a terrible winter and they were off school more than they went for a couple of months there. I got fast pass reservations made - all she cared about was riding the roller coasters. A girl after my own heart. And I had a ressie for a character meal. I gave her the choice of all the character breakfasts and she chose the princess breakfast at Akershus. Then, a new piece of information came my way that could be a game changer - the Star Wars Character breakfast at DHS. The kid LOVES Star Wars. Ok, lets see if I can get a reservation. Yep, not even hard to do. Gave the kid a choice and of course, bye princesses, hello Darth Vader. Oh the things I give up for the love of my niece. I also found out from my brother that the kid likes to eat - a lot. So, got the QS meal plan for us. This is not something I would normally do for myself on a trip anymore. I had gastric bypass surgery 14 months ago and just can't eat like that any more. However, now that I am down 144 pounds, Disney was certainly a lot easier to do!

Anyway, fast passes made, park days planned, breakfast with Vader ready for action, and enough food to keep her full - I think we are ready to go! Stay tuned for our adventures (and my misadventures in attempting to parent.) Oh, and just for your information, since she is not my child, and I'm all about internet security - I will continue to refer to her as the kid (don't want to reveal her name). There will also only be a few pictures posted because I don't have her parent's permission to post any of her.
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:08 PM   #2
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Subbing. Sounds like a fun trip though. My DSis never had kids, and when my kids were younger, and she watched them for a day, she had to take a nap after they left. However, now that they are a tween and teen, it's been easier for her. And yep, all my DD12 wants is fast coasters and would not want to eat with princesses. You're a good aunt!
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:39 PM   #3
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:01 PM   #4
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Old 05-27-2014, 04:15 PM   #5
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Can't wait for more!!
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Old 05-27-2014, 04:39 PM   #6
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Sounds like an interesting trip, can't wait to read about it!
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Old 05-28-2014, 12:45 PM   #7
Stacybaeasm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynne G View Post
Subbing. Sounds like a fun trip though. My DSis never had kids, and when my kids were younger, and she watched them for a day, she had to take a nap after they left. However, now that they are a tween and teen, it's been easier for her. And yep, all my DD12 wants is fast coasters and would not want to eat with princesses. You're a good aunt!
A nap! That would have worked. Except I never got one the entire trip. Welcome aboard!

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I'm in!
Welcome. Glad to have you along for the ride!

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I'm in!
With a name like Mommy Poppins, I know you will be laughing at me through out and saying "What a rookie mom mistake." And you will be right, every time.

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Can't wait for more!!
Welcome!

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Originally Posted by missangelalexis View Post
Sounds like an interesting trip, can't wait to read about it!
Glad to have you along. I was planning on getting started today, but I came down with the dreaded post-Disney ick. It started as a cold, but it is moving into my chest and I am fighting hard so it doesn't turn into bronchitis. With all the cold medicine running through my body, I don't know if I can do an update that would even make sense. I promise to get this report started soon!
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Old 05-28-2014, 03:12 PM   #8
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Sounds interesting, I'm in!! The Star wars breakfast sounds like something my kids would love. :-)
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Old 05-30-2014, 10:56 AM   #9
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Sounds interesting, I'm in!! The Star wars breakfast sounds like something my kids would love. :-)
Welcome! The Star Wars breakfast was a lot of fun, although, as the kid said, "The food was weird."
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:22 AM   #10
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Travel day (pt. 1)

When I first started planning this trip, I knew I had to get the kid from Minneapolis to St. Louis before we could make the trip to Disney. I figured we would travel to Disney on a Sunday and fly back on a Saturday, which left us with 2 weekend days to get her to and from Minneapolis. Ahh, the best laid plans. The first thing the kid said when we started to discuss the trip in earnest was, "I don't want to be an unaccompanied minor." Umm, what? What 12 year old talks like that? I get it if she would have said "I don't want to fly by myself" but to whip out the phrase Unaccompanied minor? Her parents and I all said "Where did you hear that phrase?" Kid replies "Guys, I read." Right, right. She's smarter than all of us. Ok, how to get her from Minneapolis to St. Louis without being an unaccompanied minor? We settle on a plan of meeting half way (Iowa City) and doing the exchange. No problem - I can do 4 hours in a car without blinking - even right before and right after a Disney trip. Dear Stacy, you might want to work on your math skills a little , or at least remember that you have to make a ROUND trip. 8 hours is much harder.

I left work an hour early on Friday to finish getting everything ready. I usually wait to pack until right before I go to bed the night before I fly but I figured I wanted everything done so I could spend a little time with my niece before we headed to Disney. Ok, everything is packed (except for the essentials I need for the next 2 days) and we are ready to roll. I head to bed early so I am rested for the 8 hour drive. Next morning, I am up and out the door. Now, I am a stage manager by trade so I am OBSESSIVE about being on time. Even though I know my brother and his family are always late, I left right on schedule so I would be there at exactly 2pm. Of course, I had to stop at one point to use the bathroom so I was a bit freaked out that I would be there 3 minutes late, but I still figured I would beat them by at least 15 minutes. Why, why does the universe always do the opposite of what you expect? My brother calls me at 1:15, "Hey, we're here. Where are you?" Umm...still 45 minutes out. Why are you early?

They find something to do for 45 minutes and we all get together at Applebees. It's great to see everyone. I haven't seen them since Christmas so we have a lot to catch up on. Then, it's time to get the rules for the trip. My brother was actually pretty light on rules for the kid - no caffeine except for the 24 hour party, remind her to take her allergy medicine morning and night, and only 1 hour of electronics time a day. Really? That's it? I can totally handle that. Let's go!! We go out to the cars to move luggage around and I make sure to get the kid's insurance card and travel papers (I wanted something that said I had permission to take her out of state and something that said I had permission to get her medical treatment if necessary.) And then, the good byes. I could see the tears starting. How do I deal with this?

After a lot of hugs and reassurances, we get in the car and start the 4 hour drive back. I'm thinking we will spend the time chatting. Silly Stacy. She's 12. The first thing she does is pull out her ipod and put in her head phones. Ok, she's still a little upset at leaving her parents. I'll give her a few minutes of private time. Yep, over an hour later, she takes out her head phones and gets out her kindle and starts to read. This goes on for 2 and a half hours. Finally, I stop for gas and a bathroom break. Of course the gas station only has a 1 person bathroom, something I have never given a thought to in all the times I have stopped there. The kid goes in and comes out. I tell her to pick out a drink and I'll be right out. As I go into the bathroom, the panic starts. Should I have left her alone out in the gas station? What if someone grabs her? Surely she is smart enough to yell and scream if that happens, right? I mean, she's 12. Is it ok to leave a 12 year old alone in a strange place for long enough to go to the bathroom? What was I thinking? Hurry, hurry, hurry.

Of course, when I come out, she's just standing there with a bottle of milk to drink. Milk? Seriously, with all the soda and juice choices the kid picks milk? Ok, I'm not one to argue with good nutrition. Let's pick out a snack. She heads immediately for the plain M & M's. Some things never change and I tell her a story about how she ALWAYS got plain M & M's at grandma's house when she was little. Hey wait, we started talking! This is great! And, it continues once we get in the car. We actually have a conversation for the entire rest of the ride to St. Louis. Of course I really have no understanding of what we talked about. What I can tell you is, I now know more about Pokemon then I ever thought I needed to know and I still can't tell you anything about it.

We hit the grocery store on the way to my house to pick up breakfast for the hotel room. The kid has a thing for "baked goods" right now. It's all she wanted for the entire trip. So, a box of mini muffins for her and some granola bars for me. Oh, and a frozen pizza for dinner. Of course, I have to pick up the latest In Touch magazine as well to keep up on the pop culture gossip. Which leads to a slightly uncomfortable conversation with the kid about whether Selena Gomez is pregnant and whether the baby is Justin Bieber's. 12 is such a great age. After dinner, it's showers and early to bed. The taxi is picking us up at 7:15am for our flight to Disney! I just hope we find more to talk about because I don't think I can learn any more about Pokemon without wanting to kill myself.
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:41 AM   #11
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That's great she started opening up to you before the ride was over. I remember going to Maine w/ my uncle as a child; we were meeting my grandparents up there and I got homesick in the car on the way to Maine- I made him turn around and bring me home. LOL He was so mad! At least your 12 yo niece made it to Disney without screaming to go home...hahaha

My son is into Pokemon cards too, it's the new old fad. It was very popular back 10-15 years ago when my brother was into them. Now my 8 year old is into them, he trades them, knows how much each card is worth, etc. Luckily, he got bored of them as of recently & no longer asks to buy them!

Looking forward to reading all about your trip with your niece~ you're an awesome aunt for taking her, btw!
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Old 05-30-2014, 11:51 AM   #12
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Joining in.
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:50 PM   #13
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I'm glad you guys were able to have some conversation as the drive went on. Looking forward to hearing more!
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:12 PM   #14
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Travel day (pt. 2) Disney - here we come!

I had my alarm set for 6:15 so we could be up and ready for the taxi at 7:15. Of course, I woke up about 6. In fact, my alarm didn't go off for the entire vacation - I was always up at least 15 minutes before the alarm. Only at the house of Mouse. I go in to wake up the kid and get a glare like I have never seen. Ok, the kid is NOT a morning person. I must remember that for the future.

We are quickly ready and outside with much luggage, waiting for the cab. I wish I could pack light, I really really do. It's just not in my nature. And since I sent the packing list to my sister-in-law, I guess I encouraged them not to pack lightly either. A checked bag, a carry on, and a personal bag apiece. Thank goodness for Southwest and Magical express. The taxi was right on time and off to Lambert Airport we go. Now, as I may have mentioned before, I"m a stage manager, besides having an OCD response to needing to be on time, I a also a bit of a stickler for rules. The airlines say to be at the airport 2 hours before a domestic flight. So I am. Usually, flying out of terminal 2 in Lambert, that means a lot of sitting around time because it takes like 5 minutes to clear security. Today was the exception to that rule and further proof that it pays to listen to the rules.

When the taxi pulled in, traffic was lined up out to the road. Our driver quickly skirted around it all (maybe not legal but it earned him an extra dollar in the tip) and started looking for a place to drop us off. The lines to check in were crazy - out the door and all the way down the building outside. What the what? At 7:30am on a Sunday???? Oh wait, all the colleges in St. Louis had graduation yesterday. Yep, not a great time to be trying to get out of the STL. I will say, Southwest had those lines moving. We were checked in for our flight (I got ECBI so I hadn't bothered to print boarding passes before arriving at the airport) and were getting in line for security. My niece was getting a little antsy with all the lines and I informed her it was good practice for Disney. Not sure she appreciated that. My sarcastic sense of humor is lost on the 12 year old audience. As we were moving through security, I hear the person behind us ask a TSA agent if there was a way to shortcut the line because her flight left at 8:15. It was like 8 now and were were easily a half hour away from getting through. She got no sympathy from TSA, but I let her go in front of me. The kid was confused by this and I explained, "Her flight leaves in 15 minutes. We have an hour and a half until ours. One person isn't going to mean us standing in line that much longer. Let her go first." Yep, that's me, setting an example for the next generation, one person at a time.

We finally clear security and we have about 20 minutes until boarding. I had promised the kid breakfast so I give her our limited options - Burger King or Duncan Donuts. Remember what I said earlier about baked goods? She didn't even hesitate before heading to the donut line. Now the question became "What can I get?" I told her to pick whatever she wanted, which, of course, was a donut and some milk. I actually tried to steer her to something more substantial because I knew lunch was a long time away yet (flight, Magical Express, check in at hotel AND get to Magic Kingdom). She just batted her eyelashes and asked for 2 doughnuts. Bad parenting moment number 1, here we go. Sure kid, 2 doughnuts it is. Don't tell your dad. Oh, and you need to get white milk instead of chocolate to balance out the 2 doughnuts. Please don't judge me.

The flight itself was pretty easy after a much delayed departure. Ok, only 20 minutes delayed but come on, I have fast passes for Magic Kingdom. Magical Express was easy peasy (even though we were the last stop.) Pretty soon, we are being welcomed home at Old Key West. I was surprised the kid didn't take more of an interest in the hotel. She didn't want to look at the pool, didn't want to look around, nothing. I guess maybe she was tired and hungry. I wanted to believe she was just in too much of a hurry to get to the park and start the magical trip, but that didn't seem to be the case either. Oh well. Our room wasn't ready so we checked the carry ons with bell services and got on the next bus to Magic Kingdom. Time for the real Disney magic to begin...I hope.
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:23 PM   #15
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LOL! Nothing wrong with donuts for breakfast! Oh, and chocolate comes from beans which are a vegetable so chocolate milk is like eating a salad! LOL
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