A week or so ago, we watched the new Lion King movie as a family. The younger boys were a little scared, but they became obsessed with the story, and we found Porter setting up his stuffed animals as if they were an elephant graveyard. He played out the scenes from the film over and over for several days. Patrick, who had seen the Broadway version about 15 years ago, decided he wanted to take the kids to see it. To strike while the iron was hot, if you will. We looked at tickets and weekends and tried to pick the best one, and we discovered that while there were conflicts every weekend, we could make it work last weekend. We got the tickets, booked a hotel in New Jersey, and headed out.
Patrick is coaching basketball for the 4th/5th grade boys rec league this year. He had to go to tryouts Saturday morning, so I ran around getting the CSA picked up, dishes done, heat turned down, etc. We were ready to go by 12:30, and then…the Beltway. Patrick might have said, “This is why no one ever goes anywhere.” I’m sure it didn’t help that he had just driven that route in the opposite direction the night before at 12:15 am getting back from a trip to Kentucky via BWI. (That’s another story.)
Our car ride was pretty uneventful; the kids finished the audio book The Westing Game and we started The Trumpet of the Swan. Harlan got kind of obnoxious about “are we there yet?” variations, but then he fell asleep; we enjoyed that in the moment, but we paid for it later. Based on Google Reviews, we chose a Tex-Mex place for dinner and got there around 4:30. We still had to wait an hour for a table! We passed the time at the bar with a TV, Shirley Temples, and a margarita. The food was amazing, cheap, and the portions big enough for us to pack up a car dinner for the next night. Our hotel was nearby, so we checked in, swam for 45 minutes, and then headed to bed. Harlan did not feel tired. We finally convinced him to go to sleep, but I guess he made Seamus uncomfortable all night.
Into the city the next day! Sunday morning driving in was so easy. We considered going on the Staten Island ferry to see the Statue of Liberty up close, but we decided that would be too ambitious. Instead, we messed around Midtown and Times Square. The boys wanted to go to the M&Ms store.
We made our own mixture of flavors not generally available, and then we doled those out one at a time at various points in our day. It was a good motivator to keep going, and they liked guessing what flavor they’d gotten. A pleasant surprise was that New York City was already decorating for Christmas, so we got to see the working men decorate the Rockefeller Plaza tree, the ice skaters zooming around, and the window displays at the Lego Store and FAO Schwartz. It was especially nice because there weren’t too many crowds. Gilbert enjoyed seeing the ball at the top of Times Square, and we discussed that people wear diapers to hang out there on New Year’s Eve.
We walked and wandered and had some pizza by the slice for lunch. We could tell they were hungry because Seamus, who almost never mentions his own needs, said he was ready for lunch. Porter was whining for water, and Harlan was acting bonkers. Gilbert was probably the most balanced, and that’s saying something. We had some great pizza and then we killed a little more time before the theater opened for our mane event: The Lion King!
It was a spectacular show. They had cushions for the kids to sit on, and from the moment the animals paraded in, the boys were rapt. Well, Harlan did fall asleep in a quiet moment about 20 minutes before intermission, but Gilbert, Seamus, and Porter were completely enchanted. I enjoyed it too, and it was the first time I have seen a show in NYC! Harlan got to do it at 3, but who’s counting!? The costumes and lighting were incredible. We had a lot of wonderful things to talk about afterwards. When Harlan woke up at Intermission, he was cheerful and ready for the second act. It was a best possible scenario. Everyone had wonderful feelings afterward. I was struck by how it was one of the first times we’ve been able to do something like that where everyone was able to enjoy it. We can go hiking or to the zoo and everyone has fun, but this time everyone got to experience something as a family that we all got something out of.
For instance, Harlan wanted to tell his friend Everett about seeing the Lion King, but he really wanted to talk about Scar falling off the cliff (which was the highlight for him). However, he says Scar kind of like Cars, and he was crying that Everett wouldn’t understand him when he tried to talk about it. He’s gotten very aware of his difficulty in saying some words (he’s three), and it is motivating him to work harder on his Rs, Ls, and S combinations. Soon he won’t talk like a little guy. I’m trying to record a few videos of his speech at this age, just to remember how he sounds.
Finally, we topped off with a quick trip to the Nintendo store.
Porter and Harlan were too little for it to hold their interest, so we headed back to our car, which took awhile to get. However, we were in good spirits, and we got on the road by 5:30. A rest stop, and we were home by 10:00. It was a fabulous trip. Now I want to do it again!