Fear This

Disney just wasn't enough fun for Alexis. She HAD to add a little side game to her play. It's called "How Many Things Can I Find to Fear." She's been playing it all week, and I'm pretty sure she'll be making a stop by Ripley's to get her world record certified. The answer to the game is A LOT. Some examples:

Robots: Robots of any size, shape, or form must maintain a 30-foot distance. Really, not a big deal at Walt Disney World. Oh, wait . . .

Self-flushing toilets
: It's an old phobia, and one that I have managed to work around by memorizing the location of every old school public toilet in the greater Pittsburgh area. But Guess what . . . so far I've found TWO old school toilets in a Disney park. TWO. Good thing the kid can hold pee better than anyone I've ever known.

Birds: Another old phobia, and one that really isn't a big deal at home. Lots of people are willing to kick pigeons out of Alexis' way, but those people aren't here to kick the ducks, geese, cranes, and every other kind of bird that hangs out at the parks. Drop a french fry and twenty of them will magically appear out of nowhere to eat it. Make sure you give Alexis a 30-minute head start before you drop the fry, though, because she will flip the hell out if she sees a single bird.

People in costumes: We're talked about this one, but I didn't mention that it includes the "real" people like Cinderella. Oh, and by the way, I have never seen as many characters as I have on this trip, and I used to know their appearance schedules. GOOD TIMES!

Boats: Technically the issue is the horn on the big boat that takes people to the Magic Kingdom, but that phobia spread like wild fire and already seems to now include all boats. Even row boats. That she's not in.

Fireworks: Totally not a problem at all because Disney? Doesn't like fireworks. Nope, not at all. Ever.

The Dark
: Funny thing. Disney Magic can do a lot of things. It can make extra buses appear when there are far too many people waiting to get on one tiny bus. It can make free replacement fries drop out of the sky when you accidentally knock a brand new container of them on the ground. It can make a little girl forget just how much she fears people in costumes. It cannot stop the sun from setting. Maybe Tinkerbell needs to bust out some ultra-power pixie dust.

Talking trash cans: Do you know how much I love the talking trash can in Tomorrowland? A LOT. Too bad I won't be getting to feed it some yummy trash.

The tiles in the shape of the evil step-sisters inside Cinderella's castle
: I'm so not kidding. We can't walk through the castle because "the bad girls" will get us. Oye.

Some rides: I'd tell you exactly which rides are too scary for Toddler consumption, but that changes minute by minute. She LOVES Pooh Ride. She HATES Pooh Ride. She LOVES Pooh Ride. She HATES Pooh Ride. Every time we stand in a line, it's like playing Russian Roulette.

That's not even the whole list of current phobias. That's just the ones that Mr. Husband and I have been exploiting for our own amusement.

C'mon, you know you would do it, too.

(Some Teacups love/hate)


Minnie-ature Shock and Awe

Alexis has a well-documented and frequently proven phobia of people in furry costumes. We should probably go ahead and send the Pittsburgh Pirates a bill for about ten years of therapy because I know the exact moment the phobia started, and that stupid moron in the pirate get-up is to blame. Alexis still HATES that thing with the fire of 10000000 suns.

She doesn't seem to hate any other mascots or characters. However, she is deathly afraid of them. I know this. I have seen this. I don't need to be reminded of this. Apparently, SHE DOES. Every single time she sees the Penguins' Iceburgh she gets all sorts of excited. She points, laughs, and begs to go see him. At that moment, I start a countdown. 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . FREAK THE HELL OUT. It happens every time.

In a meager attempt to minimize the trauma, I came up with a little plan for Miss Scaredy Pants during our time at Disney. We brought along her digital camera and instead of posing for a photo with or trying to get an autograph from a character, she can get as close as she is comfortable getting then snap a little photo. It's an all-around win because she gets to "see" them without getting freaked out, and we don't have to stand in any lines. She's totally cool with snapping her photo from afar. LOVE it, and LOVE that she is going to be able to make a scrapbook with all her own photos.

After the Princessification Project, we headed over to Disney Studios for a few hours because they were having Extended Magic Hours (the park stays open longer for guests of hotels on Disney property). One of the attractions there is a Playhouse Disney show, so of course we HAD to stop there. You know how I love my Darby, after all. The thing was that instead of being the usual show, the Playhouse Disney attraction had morphed into a toddler rave. There was a DJ, music, crazy lights, bubbles, and characters.

Lots of characters.

It started out with Jojo and some lion (I'm proud that I don't know his/her name, so don't tell me). Alexis, as expected, maintained a safe distance from them as she got her boogy on. She was excited to see them, just so long as they were OVER THERE.

But then Mickey showed up.

The Big Cheese himself popped into the party and suddenly Alexis thought it would be essential to close the gap. Mr. Husband took her over to him. As expected, she started out cool with it.

Then she freaked the hell out. As expected.

Yet, she refused to leave. Alexis was ALL about "Mickey Party" and there was no way we were getting out of there. A few moments later, Minnie showed up. If there is anyone that Alexis loves more than all the princesses combined, it's Minnie. Alexis quickly forgot all about that phobia all over again and asked to go see her. Mr. Husband and I rolled our eyes, but he took her over.

She stood there.

Then moved closer.

And closer.

And suddenly, Minnie grabbed Alexis' hand. AND NO ONE DIED.

As Alexis stood there dancing with Minnie, I tried desperately to take a photo of the momentous occasion. Of course, I was not at all prepared, so all of the photos suck. You might think that WHEN IT HAPPENED AGAIN I would have been prepared, but I wasn't. Those photos suck, too.

Princessification + dancing with Minnie = GREATEST DAY EVER!

P.S. Alexis has refused to go within ten feet of any characters ever since. I'm guessing that the bubbles floating down from the ceiling during Mickey's Party were filled with some sort of fear-numbing narcotic. There is no other possible explanation.


Princessification Project Complete

When it became apparent that we were going to be able to make the whole conference attending for work and family vacation combined thing come together, the very first task I did was check into the Princessification Process. Long before flights were booked, a hotel room was reserved, or a single bit of actual planning went into the trip, I had already called The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique to find out how much it would cost for Alexis to get her princess on.

(For anybody not in the know, the boutique is a sort of hair place for kids. Little girls can get their hair all done up princess-like, their nails painted, and can pick out a princess gown. We chose to bring our own princess gown because OMG EXPENSIVE.)

The answer was more than I spend on food for lunch in a month, but it just so happens I could stand to lose a couple of pounds. I decided I would be very hungry all through the month of April, but that Alexis could Princessify. But, I didn't tell Mr. Husband about my evil plot. I assumed he would shoot me down like a hot chick does men at a geek convention.

I kept the reservation a secret, figuring it was the sort of thing best mentioned at the last minute. It's much harder to say no to the pleading eyes of a 3-year old than it is your wife who has been nagging you endlessly for months to quit wasting money on various crap. (Hello, I have a special seat reserved for me at the Hypocrite Table. Care to join me?)

A few weeks went by and Mr. Husband and I started to really work on the planning. Suddenly, what in my inbox should appear but an email from the Husband and his genius idea that we should take Alexis to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.


I gave Mr. Husband credit for the genius idea as I spent the last couple of weeks prepping our shy wee one for her afternoon of getting her hair did. I showed her pictures. We talked about what would happen. She decided to wear the Cinderella dress she got for Christmas (clearance sales RAWK!). She talked about getting her nails painted. She told me about how her hair was going to be fabulous.

She was ready.

Of course, Alexis is Alexis and can't actually appear to be excited as something is happening. She who would not stop talking about going to Cinderella's castle to get her hair done all. freakin. week. suddenly had NOTHING to say once we stepped inside the castle. She wouldn't say her name. She wouldn't sit in the chair without me. She wouldn't crack a smile for even a moment.

Thank goodness I know her or I would have drug her out of there. After 30 minutes of sitting very, very still with a stone-faced look of ambivalence, Alexis finally got to see herself in the mirror. And grinned. BIG. WIDE. HUGE.

The biggest grin of all time.

(There are photos of the Princessification project, but I don't have them yet. Mr. Canon had to hang out not being used as it was going on, so I have to rely on the Disney-taken photos for those 30 minutes. If I can make myself part with the money to buy them. That's a BIG "if.")

The grins continued the rest of the night. They came complete with a Diva personality of epic scale, but it's all good. Princess Alexis was a happy little camper.

Good thing, too, since Mr. Husband and I looked like we rolled around in a stripper's work locker after all the glitter from Alexis' hair made its way all over our clothes and faces.