Friday, August 16, 2013

Are You Experienced? And the Great Kit Kat Crayola Meltdown

And boy do they mean an "experience."

I took a vacation day yesterday because I think after the last few weeks I have earned it. It seems like the summer is already over and I am finally getting around to feeling better and feeling like I can actually participate in activities with my kids.

I will admit to being a little out of practice of navigating all three kids at once, which is why I didn't risk taking all three of my kids to meet five other children at the Crayola Experience in Easton, PA (a two hour drive from our house) without bringing our nanny. I know that sounds kind of ridiculous, but QT is totally on the move and I am still not 100% and besides I had to pay her for the day anyway. So after we made a quick Dunkies stop, the five of us headed out to a color wonderland in hopes of having a wonderful day.

We arrived a few minutes before our agreed upon 11 am meet-up time and spent some time in the gift shop. The kids were given firm instructions that they would not be buying anything at that time and that if they were well behaved that we would pick something up on our way out. I think we could have just hung in there for an hour and the kids would have thought it was a pretty decent outing. Kind of far for crayons, but there were just so many of them and in so many colors--who knew what the full experience would bring.

We met up with our Pennsylvania and Brooklyn friends, avoided the ticket line with our pre-bought discounted online tickets, got a bag each with a map and some tokens and set off to explore. 

First stop was something called "Meltdown," which was basically painting with melted wax and was also a term that took on quite a different meaning as our day drew to a close. The big kids loved it. We had a group ranging in age from almost 7 to 1. QT had about a four minute attention span for that attraction and it was then I was super grateful that our nanny could take him down to "Toddler Town" for some play more on his level. 

The Ladies in front of a wall of pink crayons

QT on what I think is some sort of crayon dog, but am unclear. This was in the gift shop. I am pretty sure we could have just gone there picked up some crayons and the kids would have had considered it a good day!
Missing one kid. This time it wasn't the Lady (more on that in a later post).

Once all the kids finished up their artwork, we moved on to the "Crayon Clinic" where you took a crayon and put it into a machine that melted it and reformed it into a new shape. Most of the girls wanted the ring. It took about four minutes for the process to take place, there were maybe two stations with the ring. I will admit that there were two very helpful members of the "color crew" on hand to help out, but that maybe instead of just one guy walking around with a plastic twist tie that you use to bind computer cords or as an alternative to handcuffs from what I have seen on COPS, that maybe one should have been left at each station. There were a couple of little wax burns here and there. 

Did I mention that I went on this excursion with two of my favorite women in the world? No? That is because I think we talked to each other for a grand total of two minutes each. We mostly communicated in head nods and hand gestures to let the others know how many kids we had in our sight line.

Next stop, the indoor play space. This was much needed. The bigger kids got lost in a maze of crayon-themed climbing equipment and the 3 and under set met up in "Toddler Town" that is until we had to have a bathroom break and QT needed a diaper change. 

When we finally regrouped everyone was ready for lunch. They discourage bringing in your own food, but it didn't look like they policed it, so if you are going to go there at any point, I would recommend packing lunch. We waited on line for a pizza, some salads, and of course anyplace that is selling hot pretzels gets extra votes in my book. I think we ordered six for the table. QT and I "shared" one. 

Because this is the most exciting place we have gone this summer, we brought the school mandated print out to be photographed with. What you are not seeing (or hearing) in this photo is the Little Lady screaming behind me that she wants a Kit Kat "or else I won't be your daughter anymore."

After lunch every one was re energized and ready for some creating. The tokens they give you in the bag at the door enable you to create your own label for a crayon. You can pick an image and name it anything you want. You can also mix your own marker, all the kids loved this. It is kind of cool to see how they inject the ink and it is all done pretty quickly. QT loved pressing the buttons when he wasn't running in the opposite direction of where I was standing.

I have to admit he did pretty well for no nap. All the kids were really well behaved and they were good listeners. I think the hardest part of navigating something like that was that there were just a lot of us and it was hard to keep track of everyone. Also, I find that all of those indoor places have that background noise that makes you feel like you are standing next to rushing water. It is white noise, but at a high volume and it was only when we got outside that I realized I had probably been shouting all afternoon to be heard.

There were a lot of neat exhibits and attractions. All the kids gravitated toward the iPads, but the best part was that the artwork you created on the iPad showed up animated on a huge wall. The Little Lady colored in a glitter fish and then wrote her name on top. She was so thrilled to see it up there.

When we planned this trip, I didn't think we would spend more than 2-3 hours there. All of a sudden it was almost 4 o'clock and time to get moving. One of my girlfriends was going to stay for a few extra minutes and the other was heading down to the gift shop. I sent the Ladies on with her so that I could navigate QT in the stroller on the elevator and pick up a little bit of popcorn for the Little Lady, who had asked for it earlier in the day and I didn't want her to be at all disappointed.

I showed up in the gift shop. It was much more crowded than when we were there first thing in the morning. The Little Lady walked right up to me and said "remember you said I could get popcorn?" Oh, what a great mom I was, I whipped out of the hood of the stroller a cup of popcorn for her. Mom of the Year. Mom of the Year.

My girlfriend had the four kids in her sight line and I told my kids they could each pick out one thing under $10. My nanny had QT strapped in the stroller and he was perfectly content with a Cars-themed coloring book that came with markers. The Lady wanted to fill the authentic looking crayola tin with crayons and markers. It cost $15 but I said OK.

The Little Lady was undecided. It takes her a while to make up her mind about things. We looked at a lot of great crayon-themed items from cups to socks to every single Crayola item you can find in the stores. She finally decided on what basically equates to playdoh, and that I will probably throw away in the next week after I find it on the floor.

I went to check out. The Lady asked for a Kit-Kat. The Little Lady already had popcorn as her treat. I said yes to the Lady. Once this bit of information became knowledge to the Little Lady she put her cup of popcorn on the floor and started asking for a Kit-Kat.

Could I have just gotten her a Kit-Kat? Yes, but she had asked for something else and had already been enjoying it. The Little Lady is the type who knows "you get what you get and you don't get upset" but gets upset every single time. I think we have 300 opened ice pops in our freezer because she only wants purple and I can't tell the difference between the red and purple in the paper.

Moving on.

She started to lose it. Everything was paid for and put in the bag. One Kit-Kat. I tried to say my goodbyes to my girlfriend and her kids. The Little Lady started pulling on my shirt. Her voice started to rise. She tried to leave the popcorn behind again. We moved into the lobby for one last bathroom break.

"I want a Kit-Kat."

"You better give me a Kit-Kat or else I won't come with you."

"I waaaaaant a Kit-Kat"

All the while, I am trying not to lose my mind. I am trying not to just go back in the store and buy her a damn Kit-Kat, I mean in the scheme of things how big of a deal is it really? But it is kind of a big deal. She has a habit of asking for something until she sees something else. The grass is always greener type of thing and that won't serve her well in life and you know what else? Sometimes she needs to hear no and sometimes I have to be the parent.

Instead of heading straight to the parking garage, I made the decision to go to the front entrance so that the Lady could take a picture in front of a giant marker with a piece of paper the school had sent home so that kids could record places they went over the summer.

I recognize that sounds a little crazy, especially when the Little Lady was still screaming about the Kit-Kat.



But, I have three kids and the other two were totally fine and the Lady should have her photo in front of a giant yellow marker. I mean we all should really. So, I took like 25 photos of the Lady while the Little Lady pulled on the back of my shirt and screamed about a delicious wafer/chocolate treat.

We finally headed back to the van. Lots of screaming still. The van was stifling and smelled like old egg sandwiches from the morning. Both the nanny and I had to jam the Little Lady into her seat and she continued to scream about the Kit-Kat until that blissful moment we hit RT 78 and she was asleep.

The Lady woke up. She wanted her Kit-Kat. Everyone else was asleep but the Kit-Kat was in a bag in the back of the van. I told her when we stopped for gas we would get it. We stopped. I gave it to her, thirty seconds later the Little Lady woke up. I have to give it to the Lady, she tried to hide the Kit-Kat. I offered other snacks to the kids.

I had held onto that cup of popcorn and gave a few kernels to QT. This didn't make the Little Lady happy. She spent the next 10 minutes screaming about wanting her popcorn. I didn't give in until she said please, which she finally did and then whimpered for the next few exits, even after the Lady shared some Kit-Kat with her.

The nanny said she had never seen her like that and was unsure how she would have handled it if she was alone with them. I assured her as the nanny, she will probably never have to find out. As the mom, I know it all too well.

We sat it traffic by the bridge and decided on McDonalds for dinner. (Hey when did they tear down the Mickey D's in Nyack off exit 11? Had to wait to get back to CT for another wholesome chicken nugget Happy Meal.)

For those of you keeping score at home that is Dunkies egg sandwiches for breakfast, pizza/hot dogs for lunch and McDonalds for dinner as well as popcorn, pretzels, and of course some Kit-Kat.

But we also went home with some cool markers, some crayons in funky shapes, personalized crayons, three left over tokens and more than just an "experience."

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