I think I just birthed my 5th child. I am showing all the signs – I am exhausted. My laundry is backed up to my garage. I’m a little cranky, but when you ask me about the experience, I am all smiles because I truly loved it.
Our 5th child has mouse ears and red shorts. He has a gang of 5 friends named Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto. He has a squeaky voice and loves to shout “Oh Toooooodles!!!”
I birthed a Disney trip.
Oh, you can read all the books. Ask all of your friends. Call in the Disney experts. Download apps. Research the Internet. Go for it. Go all “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Disney.” Nothing. I say NOTHING compares to the real thing.
This was our first Disney trip as a family of six. We had gone once before but didn’t have four kids, and we were with other family members. So this was our first big adventure. We were first-time Disney parents, and just like all new parents, we had no freakin’ clue what we were doing despite all the planning, research, and advice we’d gotten because, just like every pregnancy and child is unique, every family’s Disney trip is unique. I had friends telling me at the ninth hour that I had done it all wrong – I did the wrong meal plan, the wrong Fast Pass plan, the wrong lodging – but there was no turning back. We were IN it – for better or worse. The only way that baby was coming out was through the princess castle itself.
We cashed in some frequent flier miles and flew down to Disney (this is when you’re thankful for a traveling husband) and saved ourselves the nine hour car ride. The labor pains were minimal on the plane thanks to the epidural (cheap wine). After flying with 4 kids under the age of 9, we caught the “Magical Express,” which could be like being 8 cm dilated depending on how your kids (and everyone else’s) are doing at this point. This is what my kids did on the magical journey:
We finally arrived at….the wrong hotel. It’s like we were given the wrong baby. And, then when we actually got to our real hotel, we had no real food. Everyone was starving and we had no lactation consultant to guide us. We maneuvered our way to the Settlement store to stock up on some essentials and shelled out $14.99 for a 6 pack of canned Coors Light. What is it they call breast milk? Oh yes, liquid gold. That’s what my canned Coors Light was. Liquid gold.
We were in pain, but we didn’t care. Our baby had finally arrived. We were at Disney. All the prep, all the planning, all the money. It all led to that moment. We hitched a boat to the Magic Kingdom and waited for the magic.
The nursery was crowded because of Spring Break. Lots of crying, lots of coddling, lots of screaming, but it didn’t bother us one bit (OK, it actually kinda bothered us a little). Like any new parents, my husband and I tag teamed and dealt with the initial trauma (don’t worry – no sainthood here – we bickered plenty) without ease, but we managed. Yes, we managed. We managed to have fun. Lots of fun. The kind of fun you have with a newborn.
Sure, we had some colicky moments. Like this:
But, we had some really magical moments. Moments like a newborn’s first smile. Or its first giggle. Moments like this:
And this:I was one of the most anti-Disney people out there, and I smiled constantly on the trip before I could help myself! (Cue Ouiser in “Steel Magnolias” talking about smiling at Drum in the Piggly Wiggly.) The Disney “cast members” were so darn friendly. It was so darn clean. And, it was so darn fun. As we stood in one long line after another, our family learned things about each other that we never knew. Important things like who can rub his tummy and pat his head at the same time, who can pull a one-liner out like nobody’s business, and who can tolerate the stress of a crowd (not the adults). We assigned a “Fab 6” character for each one of us (I claimed Daisy) and actually put a ton of thought into it.
Who does that?
Well, we did. And that’s our Disney magic. Yes, we wasted money just like any new parent wastes money when they have no clue what they’re doing. Yes, we are absolutely exhausted. Yes, we fought just a little. But, guess what? We’re still together, and we’re still talking about the fun we had on the trip. We didn’t lose any kids, and my husband and I are still together. The pain of the Disney pregnancy and birth are a blur, and we’ve all agreed we’d do it again.
But not right now because this is what six kids feels like to me: