On one of our family car rides one Sunday, an ad came across the radio about Harry Potter night at a Lansing Lugnuts game…* FIRST 1,000 FANS THROUGH THE DOOR GET A LUGNUTS QUIDDITCH JERSEY! *. Ana instantly knew where she wanted to go next weekend, especially for that jersey. I was a little nervous. It was going to be busy and loud (things Ana has a really hard time handling) and there isn’t much room to roam (new little walker, Eleni) but Chris and I figured we would go until the kids had had enough and then go. Neither of us are very much into baseball, but we try to provide the kids with new experiences when they show interest.
The gates opened two hours before the game, so I figured if we got there at the time the gates opened, we would for sure be in time for one of those jerseys. NOT A CHANCE. The line wrapped around two blocks. Have you ever waited in a line that long with a one year old? It was crazy! But we made it, with much help from the people around us keeping Eleni in a 5 foot radius.
We finally made it through the gates and it was wall to wall people.
“When you’re ready to go, or it’s too much, let us know and we’ll leave. We won’t be upset, it’ll be fine!” We both told Ana. “Where should we go first?”
As usual, everyone chose to get food first. So we got our loot and found a random pallet to sit on, where Ana could see MSU play “quidditch” before the game. Ana ate part of a pretzel and Eleni sucked down half a box of popcorn before we decided to head over to an inflatable trampoline.
It was super nice that the game was kid friendly with an inflatable slide and bounce house in front of a playground. When the girls got stir crazy, we brought them over to the playground and they ran and burned energy. Ana bounced in the bounce house until she decided she had enough, then asked to be let out.
DISCLAIMER * We don’t MAKE Ana do much. We’ve learned over the years that she knows her limits and the more we respect those, the more she’ll work with us in the future. To her, large crowds, too much noise, being too far from us, weird sensations, it’s scary for her. Like, really scary and I’m not going to put her in a position to be fearful if it can be prevented. Same with Eleni. If wearing something obviously upsets her, or she’s scared of certain toys, I don’t force that upon her, even if it might be easier in certain situations.
If I wouldn’t do it to another adult (situations they’re put in, ignoring their choices, the way we talk to them) I’m not going to do it to them. I FIRMLY stand behind that principle. I wouldn’t want to be forced to stay somewhere that freaks me out and I definitely wouldn’t make Chris, so I won’t do it to my kids. They’re smaller, but not lesser.
I’ve caught A LOT of shit for this. From doctors to family, but it works well for us. Ana is growing up to know her boundaries and that they don’t have to be compromised for anyone else, including me, and that’s worth all the snide comments.
We eventually made our way back to our seats and watched and cheered for the Lugnuts and did our best to explain what was happening to Ana. We basically gave Eleni free roam between us and let her play with spoons, popcorn, cups, whatever we had really. When both kids got bored, we got up and walked some more.
Our favorite part of family outings is probably food, so we spent the most on that, but it was still SUPER reasonable.
In the end, I’m really glad we actually went. We were really hesitant, but being on the same page with Chris about our expectations for the trip before hand, was the saving grace. No one got frustrated and we all worked together without expectations one way or another. All in all, we spent a full 5 hours there, meltdown free, and stayed extra long to see the fireworks even. We had such a rad time, I only have a handful of photos to share, but I love them a lot.