Most of my parenting skills were taught to me by my oldest child. It is funny, with your first child, you think you are an amazing parent. Then you add the second child, and you realize it wasn’t you. But now you have to figure it out and quick!
My children were awful nappers, which made me an exhausted mother of two. I admit, when things got rough, I put in a Disney movie. One of our “go-to’s” was Dumbo. My
oldest decided that when the “Baby Mine” song came on, I was required to stop whatever I was doing and rock her in the rocking chair that my grandma rocked me in.
In the film, Dumbo’s mother, Mrs. Jumbo, an elephant locked in a circus wagon, cradles her baby Dumbo with her trunk while this lullaby is sung. It was an ingenius idea, because whenever daughter wanted attention, she inserted the movie, Dumbo. Then a little while later, all activity stopped and I focused on her for a whole 2 minutes and 5 seconds.
When I later attended a behavioral parent training, I realized that this does exactly what they tell you to do. Focus on the children, when they are doing something right and reward that good behavior. Instead, most parents ignore the kids until they are doing something wrong and then have to yell and scream.
So all of my best parenting skills, I learned from my oldest child…..and Dumbo.
I often get the question, what age should you take your child to Disneyland. I am not sure that my children remember their early trips, but I do. The first time I took my children to Disney World, my mother and I took a 2-year-old and a 6 month old.
We spent the entire trip in Fantasyland alternating between the Carousel and Dumbo. These were the first two rides we rode and the girls were content to call these their favorite rides. We went from one to the other and back, over and over and over. I was starting to get upset that they wouldn’t adventure and try other rides, but my mother calmed me and said, “Who is going to know if we never leave Fantasyland?” That was brilliant, because we had a delightful, relaxing day alternating between Dumbo and the Carousel. I got to slow down and enjoy my children for the whole day. It was just one of the millions of pieces of parenting advice that my mother provided me over the childhood of my children. We had a great memory, even if the kids don’t remember it.
As my kids have grown, our regular trips have given us time away to catch up, unplug and be young together. We have inside jokes from different trips and traditions that we continue with every visit. Disney is a part of our family and we never get tired of it.
Anytime that a family can spend time together, reconnecting in a wholesome environment, is worth the trip. At any age.
What age were you when you first visited Disneyland?