Vacation 2012 Postcard: Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada is an amazing place. It’s a city that never sleeps. Bright, bold, boisterous, and busy.

If you’re into people watching, Las Vegas provides an abundance of free entertainment. People from all walks of life make their way to this place. But people watching is only one of the many things to do in Vegas. There are wonderful sights to behold. You don’t have to gamble to enjoy what this town has to offer. There is truly something for everyone.

That’s why we thought it would be a blast for our boy; a pit stop on our journey to see their maternal grandmother.

I know I am breaking the widely advertised rule, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” But I have to share.

We chose Excalibur for its theme. The boys were geeked to stay in a “castle”. Our oldest was most impressed with the door handles fashioned as swords, reminding us that the Excalibur was King Arthur’s sword.

We figured we could have dinner at the Round Table Steakhouse and watch an authentic joust. There’s the arcade called The Fun Dungeon where out gamer boys could spend some quality time.

We also had a list of non-Excalibur related adventures:

  • Hoover Dam Tour
  • M&M World
  • Circus Acts at Circus Circus
  • Fountains of Bellagio

Despite the available options, tears and disappointment marred our two and a half days in Vegas.

The five year old was sick, running a fever.  Strep throat we found out later. A visit to the med center, picking up medicine, ensuring naps and adequate hydration, altered our itinerary.

Our youngest who loves to be plugged in and a gamer at heart, hated the arcade on the first visit, and would not “go in there”. Who would have thought? Not us. He said, “It scares me. Those sounds scare me.”

Unfortunately, it meant our seven year old had limited time in the Dungeon, which made him say of this trip to Vegas, “It’s not as fun as I remembered.”

Our gamer guy was enthralled though by the adult arcade (aka the casino):

“Mom, can you teach me how to play these games?”
“No, they’re adult games.”
“I know but I want you to teach me how to play them.”
“That would be illegal. Do you want Momma to go to jail?”
“No.”
“Okay, please don’t ask again.”
“When I’m bigger can I play these games?”
“Sure. When you get older if you want to play these games you can. Please just do so in moderation.”
“’Kay.”

Cute right? Not when you’re living in the moment. It’s endearing and funny when you recount the story though.

But it got worse from there.

We tried M&M World but the five year old is afraid of people dressed up in costume like Chuck E. Cheese and the Red Robin bird. So when Green showed up there was a monumental melt down. Lots of screaming, “I want to find an exit.”

By the time we checked out of the Excalibur my husband and I were both drained, emotionally and physically. We’d had to split up to manage the needs of both boys. My husband took my oldest to the Dungeon and for meals while I stayed in the room with the littlest dude nursing him back to health.

Vegas didn’t turn out to be the fun filled stay we envisioned. I pray this isn’t an indication of how the rest of vacation is going to go. Hopefully, the return trip to Las Vegas will yield a better experience.

So, I will retract the statement:  “There is truly something for everyone.” Because clearly there wasn’t anything positive for my five year old, at least not this time around.

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Vacation 2012 Postcard: The First Time Flyer, the Reluctant Flyer, and the Frequent Flyer

This is our first real family vacation in 5 years. It requires plane tickets, hotel reservations, a rental car, a block of time off work, and money saved up. It’s a big deal. We are all over the moon about this trip … except for one little thing … flyer fears.

Our five year old is a first time flyer. While he can’t wait to see our family on the West coast, he isn’t looking forward to hopping on a plane. He doesn’t like loud noises and claims to be afraid of heights.

His fears fuel my fears. I worry about whether or not the sounds of the engine will be scary for him. I worry that he’ll cry at take off and in turbulence.

I also worry about the crowded airport because he doesn’t pay attention to his surroundings. He feels safe in most situations to walk away from us and explore. It makes me long for those kiddie harness people put on their kids. It would be one less concern. Okay, not really. It was a fleeting thought.

The seven year old is reluctant to fly. Last time he was on a plane he was two and too curious to be afraid. He’s expressed his displeasure for us taking a vacation that requires us to leave our house let alone travel across the country. He’s a homebody, what can I say?

He needs to feel in control and needs advanced notice of anything that is outside whatever “the plan” is. It’s hard to manage his expectations. We never know what’s going to cause a loud and disruptive reaction.

I worry that he’ll have an uncontrollable outburst like Jeffery from Bill Cosby’s Himself stand up routine. Sorry fellow travelers.

I am a frequent flyer. I travel domestically between five and fifteen times a year for work. So I have the etiquettes down (or so I think). The idea of going through security with my two little guys makes me nervous. It will be slower than I am used to travelling on my own.

My husband doesn’t fly frequently but he’s not a first timer or reluctant … He’ll be great with the boys. He’s fabulous at relating to them and helping them through difficult things.

REALITY:  Their excitement far outweighed their fears. The giggled as we took off. They laughed as the plane tilted toward the West.

“I can see the whole world from here,” said the first time flyer.

“I know. Isn’t it awesome?” responded the reluctant flyer.

“We’re flying,” said the first time flyer.

“This isn’t as scary as I thought it would be,” said the reluctant flyer.

They were wonderful. I couldn’t have asked for better behavior. I was worried for nothing.

“We’re in the clouds. Do you see them?” asked the reluctant flyer.

“Yeah. Yippee,” said the first time flyer..

“They look like ice cream.”

After we reached cruising altitude they pretty much ignored me. Entertaining themselves with the goodies I packed in their backpacks:

  • Power Rangers Samurai coloring books
  • Crayola Twistable Color Pencils
  • Books from our Summer Reading list
  • Their blankets

Several people sitting around us and even our flight attendant commented on how well they flew. As a frequent flyer who watches parents struggle to care for crabby kids, I am thankful that my boys surprised me so wonderfully.