Adventures Of Fatherhood

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An overwhelming feast for the senses is the best way to describe a family day at a water park.

Pam, Beckett, Carson and I decided to join hundreds of others at Frontier Town’s water park last Sunday.

Immediately upon our arrival, we worried things were going to turn south quickly, as Beckett’s fascination immediately turned to the large slides visible from the parking lot.

A little excitement on my part is to blame, as I actually drove the family “truckster” past the water park first to give him a preview. What immediately caught his eye, as it always does when we pass Frontier Town on Route 611, was the slides, or as he calls those “big green water slides”.

Beckett, probably like all kids, loves to go down slides. Of particular enjoyment and curiosity are those he has never been on and particularly those involving any kind of water, even a simple puddle.

Imagine his fascination with a huge slide leading into water.

Unfortunately, as we feared, he was not quite tall enough to ride on the larger slides at the park, leading to concerns it was going to be one meltdown after another once he discovered that fact.

All in all, he was surprised us and seemed to take the news pretty well, finding fascination in other aspects of the park, particularly a wagon in the kids’ pool section that featured three slides of its own.

This was our saving grace, as I think there would have been insurmountable disappointment if there were no slides at all involved in this visit.

If you have ever been to the water park at Frontier Town, you know what the scene is like around this wagon. It’s pure mayhem, as kids of all ages are sliding all over the place in various fashions and water is squirting everywhere. Meanwhile, parents are standing close by in knee-deep water, urging their kids to be careful and/or stop whatever it is they are doing that’s not safe.

Some  kids go calmly down on their bottoms, some go head first on their stomachs, some slide feet first on their stomachs, others try to run down it and some run up to it and then jump as far out on the slide as they possibly can. Some are simply intimidated by the madness of it all, requiring their parents to join them in the wagon before they take on any sliding at all. That makes matter even trickier.

After dozens of slides on his bottom in the traditional fashion, Beckett soon starting taking note of what some of the bigger kids had been doing around him. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, these big kids should have felt pretty cool, as my son immediately started emulating their actions.

As a big kid would run up and jump on to the slide, we could see Beckett following behind him, trying to do the same thing. That, of course, scared us as visions of him hitting his head in a clumsy fashion raced through our heads.

After a few running leaps that left me closing one eye and grimacing at the potential of what could go wrong, it was time to change the scenery a little bit and perhaps calm our boy down some.

That went over about as well as you would expect, but we wanted to make sure Carson, 20 months now, had some fun as well.

Unfortunately for Carson, the wagon was not exactly suitable for him to be on his own, as the kids were quite aggressive. However, he did go down the slide a couple times with our help and he loved it. Actually, his facial expressions of pure joy were the highlight of the day for me. Next summer the wagon will undoubtedly be his thing.

For his part, Carson seemed to prefer the Lazy River at the park to the hoopla surrounding the kids’ pool.

I can’t say I blame him, as they were two extremely different experiences. One is relaxing and mellow, while the other is hectic and fast paced.

Not surprising when compared to the action at the water slides, Beckett didn’t think too much of the Lazy River.

As luck would have it, I had the easy chore on the Lazy River. I was with Carson, who just sat back on his tube and enjoyed the ride.

Pam, on the other hand, had Beckett, who she had to mentally and physically wrestle with to get on and stay on the tube. After some struggles, he was convinced (or maybe it was bribed) to at least take one journey around on the tube.

Then, it was quickly back to the “wagon slides” as he would later refer to them, as I stayed with Carson for another loop.

That’s how most of the day was spent — one parent with one child protecting him from himself and other crazy kids and the other parent enjoying some relaxation with Carson. Like most things, we tagged in and out and it worked well.

Later, in the Lazy River Cantina (I recommend the guacamole burger), things did begin to unravel for us, as two fatigued kids seemed disinterested in having lunch and even less inclined to sit.

Carson knocked over an iced tea all over Beckett, touching off a screaming fit from each, and I admit to wanting to run out the door and flee the scene.

On the way home, Carson fell asleep (actually before we even left the parking lot) and Beckett didn’t say a word.

It was the first peaceful moment of the day.

Two exhausted kids truly is a beautiful thing.

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