Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The monster bash

On Sunday, the family took a day trip to the Sesame Place theme park in Pennsylvania. We went there for two reasons: 1) Kyle has become a huge fan of the show and we had heard that the park is designed for kids his age, and 2) I needed to know once and for all whether Jennifer was having an affair with Cookie Monster. I was going to confront him, and, if rumors were true, knock him out, right there in front of everyone. C is for "Can of Whoopass!"

Now, you may wonder where such a rumor started. After all, I initially had no reason to suspect that my wife was sharing cookies with the big blue monster. She had always seemed faithful to me. But then, one day, out of nowhere, the little guy started blurting, "Mommy and Cookie Dah-doo! Mommy and Cookie Dah-doo!" I gasped. Cookie Dah-doo is the Kylese word for Cookie Monster. Jennifer immediately tried to get Kyle to stop saying such things. Yet she did not deny them. So, on Sunday, we drove to Cookie Monster's home to get answers, and possibly revenge. We didn't need anyone to tell us how to get there. We had maps.

Not too long after we arrived at Sesame Place, we realized that, indeed, most rides were safe for two-year-olds. Of course, that didn't mean that our two-year-old would actually ride them. After several long waits in line under a blazing hot sunny day (begging for those swept-away clouds to come back our way), we found ourselves getting off rides before they began moving. Kyle wanted no part of Big Bird's balloon ride, he spent a lot of time trying to climb out of Ernie's bouncy room, and he wisely stayed away from Grover's house of chainsaws. Instead, Kyle spent most of his time in an activity area that closely resembles our local YMCA. I was starting to wish that we didn't dip into our 401(k) to pay for the park's admission tickets.

Things were not looking up for my other mission, either. We could not get close to the Cookie Casanova. He and his bodyguard named Tully (seen to the right) were busy the entire day taking pictures with tourists. We considered getting in the line ourselves, but it stretched all the way to New Jersey, and our child did not have the patience to wait that long. So, the best I could do was just stand in back of Cookie Monster and growl, hoping to get some sort of reaction. There was no sense in shouting his name because everyone else was doing it. Plus, from what I could see, Cookie Monster showed absolutely no interest in Jennifer, which made me start to wonder whether my son was just making things up. We gave up on meeting the big blue beast, and had our picture taken with Bert and Ernie instead. As everyone knows, they're perfectly safe... right?

(Above: Kyle considers starting a new rumor)

After lunch, which consisted of pizza and fries (sold to us underneath signs that urged kids to eat more vegetables), the day became better. The three of us found a shady spot to watch the Sesame Street parade. Kyle smiled often and pointed at the characters as they danced along the road. It was one big party. When Cookie Monster walked past us, he did not seem to recognize Jennifer at all, and there was no Bill-and-Monica-type hug. Kyle had also stopped saying "Mommy and Cookie Dah-doo." I then figured that Jennifer must have been just playing along several days ago when she was coy about Kyle's accusations. Heck, even if it were true, was it really that bad if Jennifer had a special relationship with Cookie Monster? He always was my favorite Sesame Street character, and he inspired the eating habits I still have today. Maybe this would lead to more fresh-baked cookies around the apartment, and I have no problem with that. So, during that parade, I gave up my plans for a big blue smackdown, as I suddenly felt a-okay with "Mommy and Cookie Dah-doo." Hey, at least it's not Elmo.

Kyle also found joy at one of the pools by the park's water slides. The wall at the edge of the pool squirted out streams water, and many kids were playing with them. We carried Kyle there, with him crying and screaming "NO WATER! NO WATER! NO WATER!" the whole time. Ten minutes later, he was running around in the water, splashing and laughing. Those who missed his resistance thought Kyle was always a big fan of the pool. I'd say it was a small victory. By the end of the day, though, we concluded that a two-year-old, especially our two-year-old, is still a little too young for Sesame Place. I'm sure we'll go back when he's older. Kyle still had a good time, and for much of the ride home he kept saying "good-bye" to Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Elmo and the gang. I suppose that in itself made the visit worthwhile.

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