...not an experience I wish to repeat soon.
First of all, let me just say how sad I am that I took my camera to record all of the adventures of my precious children, but when I went to snap the first shot, which happened to be one of a make-shift tent made of a picnic table, an ice chest and a large, yellow water tube, I learned that my camera had run of its charge. I was crestfallen and almost began to cry, as my pregnancy hormones are literally raging right now.
That being said, I will do my best to paint word-pictures of how the venture went.
The first vision that sank my already low spirits was the line going into the park. It was near 100 degrees F outside, but the creators of this particular water park had not had the forethought to build tent canopies above where people would be standing in line. I mean, come on, it regularly reaches 107 degrees F in the U.S. border which I call home, but then again, our city isn't known for its innovations.
As I stood in line with my sister and all eight kids, the heat began to bear down on my head and I started to feel like I was going to faint. I knew I had to sit down, but the only relatively flat, low surface was some decorative, fake volcano rock used as a border along the sidewalk. I went over and sat down with my head between my legs, hoping that the sharp rock edges weren't tearing holes in the swimsuit under my cover-up.
After moving from one location on the lava rocks to the next in order to keep up with the line, we finally were admitted in. Had the older kids and my sister not been there to help with the twins, I would have been in a world of hurt. Wait a minute. Had my older kids not been there, I would have been in a comfortable, air-conditioned house. Never mind.
After we all received wrist bands (the twins, ankle bands, which made them looks like birds on an animal preserve) I quickly headed for a place near the baby play area to begin frantically preparing a sandwich before I threw up. By this time, my mother, sister and brother had brought up the rear, carrying a laundry basket full of food and two ice chests. I desperately waited for them to arrive with the laundry basket of food which contained the necessary peanut butter, honey and whole wheat bread I craved. They arrived, heaved the basket onto the table and my mother said, "Jen, they wouldn't let us bring in the peanut butter."
"What?!?!?!?" I shouted.
My brother tried to explain, "It's because it's glass, Jen, but here, we scooped as much out as we could into this plastic cup."
"Yeah, I knew we would be in big trouble if we didn't get your peanut butter to you, Jen," my mom added.
I had almost began to cry, but when I saw the plastic cup filled with globs of peanut butter, I was happy beyond words and my tears were squelched.
For the next two and a half hours or so, my mother and I followed the twins and the 3-year-old as they ventured further and further into the baby play area. We discussed how certain people should not be wearing the types of swimsuits they were wearing, questioned if one little girl we saw was an African-American albino, or just had a caucasian mother with red hair, commented on how hot her grandpa was, you know, for a grandpa, and wondered why so many fathers had tattoos.
During this time, my peanut butter sandwich had begun to wear off and the nausea kicked back in. It was then that I realized what my brother had brought to make for lunch. Whereas I had simply brought sandwich paraphernalia and Doritos, my brother had made a salad fresh from his garden with poppy seed dressing, had ice-packed tuna sashimi, and had prepared fresh vegetable shish-ka-bobs to brush with butter and grill. I was so happy when I saw this bounty that I almost began to cry again, but this time it would have been with tears of joy. The food was absolutely delicious and cured my nausea immediately.
Now it was time to put the babies and the 3-year-old down for their naps. I called on the 17-year-old boy to care for the 3-year-old and my mother to care for Twin B while I nursed Twin A. (Just a nursing tip for water parks: always wear a two-piece swimsuit, such as a "tankini" for easy access + modesty.) After 20 minutes of nursing, Twin B still did not fall asleep, so my mother and I switched and I repeated the steps with Twin A. Fortunately, he DID fall asleep, and I re-repeated the steps with Twin B, who finally fell asleep about 10 minutes later. As there was only dappled shade protecting them under the tree, my brother and sister came up with the previously-described tent, of which I could produce no photo.
Next, I attempted to get the 3-year-old to lie on the folded quilt on the ground along with the twins. He would lie down for a short time, then get up and say he wants to go swimming because he has never been swimming before. Arrgghhh! I kept encouraging him to sleep and telling him that he wasn't going to get his way this time. After 15 minutes of feckless attempts, my mother finally said, "Jen, why don't you let me take him home with me. I have to go home anyway to get ready for your sister's birthday party and I could just lay him down for a nap." I asked him if he would like to go home with Grandma, and without hesitating, he said yes. Again, almost a time for tears of joy.
Now I was alone with the twins, who were sleeping. Everyone else had gone off to ride the slides, and I was in mom heaven. When looking at people walk by got a little old, as I didn't have my mother with which to talk about them, I decided to see if I could figure out how to use the IPhone my sister had asked me to guard with my life. Had fun with that, was impressed at how user-friendly it was, then waited for the family to return. And they did, all too soon, in an effort to encourage me to take the babies on one of the slides. I told my sister that I would absolutely not do such a thing and besides, I was pregnant and they don't let pregnant women ride the slides. She insisted that it was only a "moderate thrill" and that the babies would love it. I reluctantly agreed and set off with her, my brother, the 17-year-old boy and the twins for the top of the "Amazon". When we neared the top, my sister announced, "Now, there is about a 30% chance that when you hit the pool at the bottom, you'll flip the inner tube.
"What?!?!?" I cried.
"Well, but it's only a 30% chance and you'll hold onto the baby real good, so you'll be fine."
Once we were at the top, the pimply life guard held the tube still for me as my atrophied early-pregnancy muscles attempted to lower my body into the tube. I adjusted and readjusted myself, my sister handed me the baby and down the slide we went.
Yes, it was fun. No, the baby didn't cry on the way down. Yes, the cool breeze felt great in my hair and yes, I began to feel glad I had listened to my sister.....except for when we hit the pool at the bottom. That 30% chance that we would flip the tube turned into 100% for Twin A and me. We went three feet under the water, completely unexpectedly and when we surfaced, my sister was laughing hysterically. Fortunately, Twin A was only mildly shocked, didn't even cry, and was fine once I got a towel around him. But what he had to go through was not what had upset me the most. All throughout that day, as I would walk by a mirror, I would think, "Dang. I am having a good hair day". It was perfectly flipped out in all the right spots, but not to flippy. It had looked perfect for the birthday party for that night and I was furious that my do had been ruined. I expressed my feelings to my sister, and she began laughing ever more hysterically and said she couldn't wait to tell Mom that I was more upset about my hair than I was about my baby boy being flipped out of his tube and dumped head first into an unexpected whirlpool of water.
Five hours had passed by this time and I was sincerely hoping that someone in my party would say they were ready to go. But why would they? They were riding the slides and flirting with life guards and NOT chasing babies. I take that back. My sister did help with that, but she also had lots of fun, too, not that there's anything wrong with that. Even though no one made an effort to began the process of going home, I knew that the park would only be open for about another hour, so time was on my side. I began to clean and organize our picnic area, but upon doing this, I realized that someone had stolen my golden flip flops, causing me to have to walk bare-footed across the park and to have to sit on more lava rocks as I waited for the 17-year-old boy to retrieve me in the 15-passenger van.
This topped off a memorable day at the water park with twins + six kids + plus morning sickness. Thanks for listening!
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