This week marks the end of this school year for my guys, which aside from being entirely inappropriate - radar gun says time should have its license suspended and pay a hefty fine - means we are heading in to the Dog Days of summer here on the Planet.
To mark this annual journey into madness, Toad discovered the bathroom door open within 30 seconds of being home one day last week and managed to dump his entire bottle of Suave Cowabunga Coconut Shampoo all over his bedroom carpet - before I got to him. He's fast. Like time. Only harder to clean up after. Cleaning giant puddles of shampoo out of carpet is seriously, a pain in the ass. You're trying to clean... soap... which just gets all... soapy... 'n stuff. Think about it.
Toothpaste art and purse baby sightings can't be far behind...
OK that's just creepy.
Also, did I mention that the dog is apparently a crack-head? Except not for Crack. Pink cotton candy. But Pink Cotton Candy-Head sounds stupid. I'll explain in a minute.
I decided to treat the boys to a day at our local amusement park over the weekend, sort of an end-of the year treat. We've actually never been to this one, and it looked like it had enough rides to keep the three of us happy for the day. We've taken Toad to Disney three times in his life and he loved it every time - my sensory boy has always loved things that move him, literally.
He's always been fearless. As long as he was moving, didn't matter what it was, he was happy. His particular favorites were roller coasters and the Tower of Terror - I cannot express to you my intense dislike of that particular ride enough, however, I sucked it up and took my little man on that evil monstrosity every time we went. Because he liked it.
I am fairly certain we could have gone 24 hrs straight on Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, or the Matterhorn and he still wouldn't have wanted to get off.
Last time we were there, which was 2 and a half years ago, I even took him on California Screamin', the big coaster with the loop at California Adventure. My little coaster lovin' Toadie.
So off we went. There is a big, wooden coaster at this park, and we tried to go on that first, but it was closed for some maintenance when we got there. Toad was doing his "I'm anxious" humming, so I wanted to get him on something pretty quickly so he'd settle down. Not far from the wooden coaster was the Pirate Ship - you know, the big ship that swings on a pendulum. Toad's never been on this type of ride before, but, the child enjoys dropping in the dark from 13 stories up, so you know, I figured a giant swing would be fine. Particularly given his love of swinging. All makes sense, yes?
The ship started up and once it got going through the first few swings Toad had his head buried in my shoulder. Um, aw... Toadie... he wasn't fussing, but he clearly wasn't getting his swing-on, either. I've never in all his life seen him react in what could possibly have been a fearful way to anything. Until then. I held him close until it was over. It was odd. Hardest part was, I couldn't really tell if he was actually scared, or, if he was maybe nauseous and found it better to just not look.
So that was unexpected. We found another ride, a strange, Kangaroo-hopping deal, which he seemed fine with. Here is a pic I took of the boys on this same ride later in the day, when I sent them on it themselves:
After this we made our way back up near to the big wooden coaster and found the bumper cars. This isn't a classic bumper car scenario, you can't just drive around in a large open space and smash people - I imagine somewhere along the way, it was determined this was dangerous - in this one you have to drive around an oval track in a counter-clockwise fashion, otherwise they yell at you. Also, no hitting people head-on. What fun is this!?! Anyway, Toad and I rode together and Zach was on his own. Turned out, this ended up being Toadie's favorite ride of the whole place. He was having a great time, giggling away, loved it when we'd get smacked by someone, so we spent a lot of time getting off and getting right back in line and back on again. They make you do this. Even when there is no one else there in line. It's a control issue. But we did it because this is what was floating Toad's boat. And we like a happy Toadie!
We'd venture off to other more vigorous options, including the wooden coaster that was now open, and the more up-to-date loopy/cork-screwy one, just to get our coaster fix. But Toad wasn't all that keen on any of them. Which was just so different than he'd been just 2 years ago. I really didn't expect that he'd be scared, he's simply never shown any indication of understanding danger or anything like it in the past.
At the end of the day, we decided to take a ride on the river-rafty thing that sends you down the big waterfall and you splash at the bottom - figured if we got wet it was no big deal, we were going to head home after anyway. Now Toad loves water. Drinking it, playing in it, dumping it all over himself and anything else he can find. Loves it. We rode the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios 4 years ago when we were there, THREE times, Toad and I, and that is apparently the tallest and most vertical of these type of water-drop rides around. I figured this would be a hit to end the day.
Me, when we were already seated and belted in:"Josh, you want to go on a boat ride?"
That was unexpected.
Toadie squeezed my hand so tightly when the boat started moving and once again, and he buried his face in my shoulder. He was scared. The boat was barely moving, he couldn't have been nauseous. I was heart-broken. I just held him close and tight, and took as much of the splash as I could when we hit the bottom. He got a bit wet, though Zach and I were soaked. He didn't even seem that amused by being wet, which is just not like Toad. This is the boy who loves the rain and purposely dumps his water bottle all over himself whenever possible. I was sad. I'd just wanted him to have a really fun day. I mean, it was fun, there were rides he liked, and as I mentioned, he was all about the bumper cars. But he has clearly developed a sense of fear, which has made the kind of rides he used to like, not very fun for him any more. And that was sad.
BUT - after a big bunch of fries for lunch, which he quite enjoyed, this happened:
And all was right with the universe. <3 <3 <3
We grabbed Zach some cotton candy to take home and called it a day.
This is when we discovered the dog's secret life as a sugar-jones'ing junkie.
We got home, and Zach was still eating his cotton candy. Buddy, who under normal circumstances makes it a point to invade your personal space at every given opportunity, was following Zach so closely and so intently, I thought he was to climb up his back and perch like a vulture on his head.
Zach stopped and Buddy was so tense, staring at the cotton candy, he was shaking. Then he started barking at it. The cotton candy didn't respond well to the barking, as it kept making its way in to Zach's mouth. Buddy seemed perplexed by this. So he barked at it some more.
Every time Zach would move, Buddy would move too, to stay focused on that pink cloud of canine crack. I tried staging an intervention but he was not ready to admit he has a problem. So I left Dr Drew's # on a post-it by his water bowl.
It was one of the strangest things I've ever seen him do - it's not like we've ever fed him sugar, or anything even like that. Ever. But boy, he wanted it and he wanted it bad.
Welcome to summer on Planet Josh. Strange days indeed.