Big Bear turns four this week and the Bear Bros, mom & dad, grandma and grandpa and the nanny are packing up the Mickey Bus (the rented SUV) and heading to the Happiest Place on Earth. For the second year in a row.
I went to Disney World for the first time when I was 14. Little Bear isn’t even two and this will be his second Disney trip. This year we’re expanding our trip and adding Epcot to our itinerary, in addition to the two parks we went to last year. The Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom. I have exactly one year to turn Big Bear into a Harry Potter fanatic so we can spend his fifth birthday at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter buying wands at Ollivanders and drinking butterbeer in Hogsmeade. A nanny can dream.
How is Big Bear turning four? It feels like a few months ago we were celebrating his second birthday with a Jake and The Neverland Pirates themed party. It feels like a few weeks ago that we were celebrating his third birthday (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed) at Disney World. Now he’s turning four and having a Lion Guard themed party. The Bears certainly know how to throw Disney-themed birthday parties.
Big Bear officially starts his first day of his two spring breaks (what other four-year-old gets two spring breaks?) at the end of the week. This Disney trip is going to start a little nutty. The day before we leave I start a 7-week creative writing course. After it gets out at 9 pm, I have to rush home and pack for four nights away from home. Most overwhelming will be finding the time to pack the boys while Big Bear is home on spring break and Little Bear unravels all of my progress. You should see him on laundry day. He’s very helpful when he throws miscellaneous objects into the hamper while I’m trying to sort the dirty laundry. He is even more helpful when he throws the newly folded clean clothes on the floor. I’ve learned that it’s best to save laundry for when he naps, to save from repeatedly folding the same load of laundry.
Packing for two kids, even if it’s just for half a week, is no joke. We need a pack ‘n play, for when Little Bear sleeps. Two separate strollers. In case we need to split up, the double stroller just won’t do. We need two car seats, facing two separate ways because of the age difference, two different kinds of kinds of milk. We need different lotions for post-bath because Little Bear has the most sensitive skin and is prone to breaking out in every skin condition imaginable.
Last year we took the Mickey Bus carrying dad, mom, the Bear Bros, the nanny and the family dog, who is a certified service pet. He’s more like an old man, because he’s the size of an adult but thinks he’s as teeny as a kitty cat and likes to sit on everyone’s lap. Papa Bear rented an SVU the size of a large boat. The x5 just wouldn’t hold us all. From where I was sitting, in the third row with Little Bear, I couldn’t hear the conversations mama and papa bear was having in the front of the car. They could have been plotting my death, for all I know. Big Bear, who was barely potty trained, sat in the middle row next to the dog with a pull-up and woke me every time I fell asleep by continuously saying “Rachel, Rachel, Rachel, Rachel…” In addition to the Mickey Bus grandma and grandpa drove their own SVU, carrying one large moving box full of cereals, snacks, Miralax, pacifiers, spare bottles and a second, identical box containing bottles, bath essentials, sunscreens, and hats.
Like last year I will get my own room where I’ll most likely binge watch Forensic Files and take long, hot baths. Unless Big Bear decides to poop in my bathtub again, like he did on the second day of our trip. Somehow bubble baths stopped being appealing during the rest of the trip.
Since our last Disney trip, not much has changed in my life. I look the same, although my hair might be shorter and slightly more blonde. I have the same eyesight (still blind as a bat) and I still have the same wit. The Bears Bros on the other hand look and sound like two entirely different boys. Little Bear was barely crawling during our last trip to Disney World. At six months, he spent most of the trip glued to one of our hips or fighting a nap in his stroller. Big Bear is a year older and has really come out of his shell. He climbs jungle gyms at the park and enjoys sliding down slides by himself. He doesn’t need four-hour naps anyone and is able to focus on one activity at a time.
Big Bear says that he is most excited to ride Dumbo. I found a full video of the Haunted Mansion ride (my personal favorite) on YouTube and have played it for him over and over. His favorite part of the ride is the ghost playing the piano. If you look closely at the piano seat, you can see a ghostly shadow on the floor. Big Bear giggles every time he sees it, pointing to the spooky shadow- making sure I’m paying attention. Maybe it is wrong to talk a four-year-old into riding the Haunted Mansion. Maybe I should bring Little Bear. He is a thrill seeker and if he objects he can shake his head, wiggle his finger back-and-forth and say “no.”
2017, so far, is lacking personal vacations. I know that Disney World will be five days of sleep depriving, bad eating, no-time-to-relax chaos, but how often does a gal get a paid working trip to Disney World? How often does she find employers who will change the dates of their vacation to accommodate their nanny’s non-accredited writing course? I might be overwhelming myself with my running list of purchases that need to be made on Amazon and the grocery store, but I know the unnecessary stress will all be worth it when the Bears and I pull into the main gates of the Animal Kingdom and Big Bear runs to the Tree of Life and Little Bear chases after him, both with pure excitement on their faces.