KiddieLand rocks. Old School, Baby!
I’m not sure what won me over – was it the safety belts that resembled a piece of rope held in place by the jaws of a pair of pliers? The swinging screen door on the women’s bathroom? All the free Pepsi products you could drink?
Maybe it was the retro rides themselves: cross-eyed and lumpy Dumbos, needle nosed space ships with glittery paint. And no TV characters!
No, I know what charmed me. My own enchanted, dancing and well-rested girls, no, make that my enchanted and dancing BECAUSE well-rested girls. Nora had fallen asleep on the way down to Melrose Park. Randy and Mia went into the park and I waited with Nora.
I ate a salad (edamame at McDonalds? Who knew?) in the car while she slept on. I finished Tom Perrotta’s Little Children. (From the first line, “The young mothers were telling each other how tired they were,” Perotta creates a very familiar suburban world of the once young and rebellious. Speaking of Kate Winslet movies, is anyone else excited and a tiny bit apprehensive about the upcoming film version of Revolutionary Road? I’ve read this book at least three times and I just hope they get right the maddening characters. . . )
I read. I looked at the sleeping baby. Her hairline had grown dark with sweat. I looked at the pronounced veins on the back of my hands. I compared mine to hers – the fat back of her hand is as brown and round as a toasted bun.
Anyboo, my point is, NORA NAPPED. And she was happy as a clam when she woke at 1:30, ready for some spin-around-and-feel-some Gs fun.
It’s such a tiny window of appreciation for this place. Mia will be five in October; Eleanor is two and a half. In a couple of years the girls will want Great America thrills, drops and throws and violent swings. The gentle pleasures of the Polyp and the Roto-Whip will no longer be enough.
Our last gasp of a ride was supposed to be quickie before we hit the road but turned into a big show. On a merry-go-round with mid- 20th century replacements for the horsies -- bicycles, finned convertibles, streetcars -- some poor father kept trying to make his multiple toddlers sit down in their fire engine seats, only to walk to the sidelines and find another little one had popped up. The ride couldn’t start until everyone was settled. The other children started getting restless. Nora was pulling a Jackie Kennedy out the back of her convertible, (sorry!) and Mia, as patient and tired as a dad on a cross country trip, was turned around in her seat trying to convince the babies to sit down.
I just loved the spectacle.