Posted by: ladybughugs | January 12, 2009

Three Cheers!

Way back in the dark ages, circa 2005, we decided to take a family vacation, a long weekend, really, and take Scout to Orlando.

He was six and I was hoping I was pregnant with Lil’bug. The plan was to have this time, before adding an infant to the mix, to have some fun as a family, because there is so much in Orlando that an infant cannot do and who would, in fact, hold at least one of us back.

Scout had no idea what we meant when we said Orlando. We didn’t tell him that we were planning a visit to Sea World, Disney World, the Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom. We never uttered those words. He had enough trouble with focus and self-control in the classroom; we didn’t need to add the excitement of a trip to Disney World on top of his regular exuberant self. But, we’d talk about our trip to ‘Orlando’ at home and he didn’t know what was in store, but was ready to follow us wherever the path led. It’s funny the trust a child has in his parents.

We planned carefully. He’d been on a plane only once before, in 2002 when he was three, to attend a family wedding in Hawaii. A trip I prefer to keep repressed in the deep recesses of my soul and access only when absolutely necessary so that we need never go ‘there’ again (the torture of an active child cooped up on a plane for 12-14 hours, not Hawaii). We wanted this to be successful, so we spent extra time planning diversions for the trip. Our main diversionary tool was his Leapster. His was one of the earlier versions, the kind that gobbled up more than it’s fair share of AA batteries. So we packed extra batteries…and then some more. We were really only planning on needing it in the airport and on the plane there and back and maybe for a little while in the room while we were getting ready in the morning. Shamu, the Mouse and his friends, and Animal Kingdom (which H and I had never been to) would be more than enough to keep him entertained.

The first set of batteries lasted the entire trip down. We probably changed them at some point once we were in Orlando. Then it was time for the return trip. It was late March. Easter weekend…rainy season all along the east coast. If I remember correctly the flight out of Orlando was on time, or close to it. We had a layover in Atlanta, or Dulles, somewhere that was not Newark, which was where our van was… and the batteries in the Leapster died. Fine, whatever, we have more, change them! Not so easy. The battery compartment was designed pre-9-11…it required a small Phillips head screwdriver. Screwdrivers are not permitted in airports! Even the maintenance people are not allowed to bring their screwdrivers into the gate area of an airport (how do they fix things?). We were tired, I was pregnant-hormonal and didn’t know it, I had a doctor’s appointment at 7:00 the next morning for a pregnancy test that. I. had. to. get. home. for, it had been a loooong two months on a roller coaster of emotions on top of an already-too-long 12+ months of trying to conceive (another memory I try to keep repressed), a rain delay with a tired-but-oh-so-active six-year-old who needed that toy to remain at a tolerable level of not-driving-mommy-crazy with his need to keep moving. There may have been were tears. Mine, not his. Finally, H was able to find a maintenance worker who was able to take the thing down to the tarmac, or wherever it is they keep the real tools, to change the batteries. Bless him. Catastrophe somewhat averted. We still had to get home. NOW!

Fast-forward, Christmas 2008: Lil’bug received her Leapster2 from the grandmas. Yes, she’s three. Yes, the age on the toy is 4+. I lost track of the number of times in the month before Christmas that she came to me from Scout’s general direction with, ‘Scout won’t share with me.’ She hadn’t asked him to share. I think, in true female fashion, that because she thought it, he should have known that she wanted a turn on his NintendoDS. She really needed something of her own to wrap her little fingers around and gaze at engage her rapidly connecting synapses for hours on end.

She loves the thing. It’s the Number One Toy of the 2008 Christmas Season. It engages her while she’s learning to identify letters and numbers. This weekend she was picking out two-digit numbers so the character could jump from one place to the next.

Anyway, back to the batteries. She goes through a set of batteries a day when she’s home on the weekend and playing it (and leaving it on), on and off throughout the day. The charging base is on order. It dawned on me, the battery compartment is different. It can now be accessed by using a coin. The screw-head is the right size for a simple penny, or dime, something that is still allowed beyond security in the airport. Boy, those folks at LeapFrog sure are smart!

All this to say… three cheers for LeapFrog!

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