Sometime last year, the Loud One started talking obsessing about dolphins. She’s gone through similar phases with other animals and creatures – for example, puppies in general (a perennial favorite), Siberian Huskies, worms, jaguars, bats and German Shepherds, to name just a few – and this one was no different. Dolphin books, dolphin games, and unfortunately, lots of dolphin-speak going on in our house.
Well, at some point, the Loud One happened to mention her passion for dolphins and her desire to see or touch or ride one to Grammy.*
*Most of you either A) know Grammy or B) have already heard the details and seen the pictures, so you know where this is going.
You see, Grammy suffers from the disease known as “MustMakeItHappen-itis.” True, this is a little known disorder. Some know it by its alternate name – “the tendency to spoil rotten” – but we prefer its more scientific title.
And so the excursion to The Atlantis was planned. Two days in the Bahamas. Seven cousins (ages six to nine). Four moms. And one Grammy.
And the dolphins.
I didn’t tell the Loud One about it until several days before. (Mostly because I felt bad for the Nibbit, who is definitely old enough to wonder why he’s not going on an airplane, which would be the highlight for him. But we planned some other fun things for him to do and he was fine.)
When I finally did tell her about the trip, she was excited. But then she immediately said, “Well, I don’t know if I really want to swim with the dolphins. Is that OK?” (Remember when I wrote THIS POST about keeping expectations in check when it comes to kids??)
In my head: You have got to be effing kidding me!
Out loud: Of course that’s OK, you don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with.
Back in my head: But for the love of God, do NOT tell Grammy!
Turns out, the Loud One was a little bit nervous. She’s got a bit of an ear-phobia-thing going on right now. This may be worth a separate post (or not) but suffice it to say she was worried about swimming and getting water in her ears and also about the plane ride.
I assured her it would all be fine and that she didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to do and that no matter what, the trip was going to be amazing. Over the course of the next few days, here is just a small sampling of the questions I received:
- Do you think we’ll get to sit on the dolphin and ride it around the ocean? Probably not.
- Do you think it will be OK if I just sit and watch? Absolutely. (PleaseGodDon’tJustSitAndWatch.)
- What do you think my dolphin’s name will be? I’m sure I have no idea.
- Do you think ALL of the other cousins will want to ride the dolphins? Hmmm… I think yes.
- Do we each get our own dolphin or will we share? I haven’t actually participated in this particular Dolphin Experience yet, so I just don’t know. My guess is it will be one marine mammal per group.
- Are my ears going to pop on the plane? Probably, but I’ll bring lollipops and gum and you know all of the tricks to make them feel better.
*Side note: EARS –> PLANE –> FAIL. Any one of the approximately 200 passengers on Jet Blue flight #1048 to Nassau OR Jet Blue flight #740 back to JFK will attest to the fact that the Loud One did not know the tricks to make her ears feel better. Unless you think screaming counts as one of those tricks. I don’t. At one point, in the middle of her screaming in pain, she yelled out, “I AM SO ANNOYED!” and I’m fairly certain that most of the people on that plane were all thinking the same thing in that moment: Sweetheart, you are not the only one.
We made it through the flight. We enjoyed a relaxing first day there full of swimming and french fries. And then the next day, after one very traumatic group experience on a Not-So-Lazy River ride (kids separated from Moms, unexpected forks in the river, and a mad dash – on foot – across the entire Atlantis property by one brave cousin and aunt), we were FINALLY ready for the Dolphin Experience.
In a nutshell, it was awesome.
Except for two things:
1.) The wet suits. Wet suits are generally not awesome. (Although I was extremely proud of the Loud One for climbing into that sucker without any flinching. That’s major progress for our girl.)
2.) The fact that one of our girls didn’t have the best experience when our dolphin, Tamara (that bitch) scratched my niece’s hand. The details are unclear, but my sweet niece was sad and didn’t love the rest of the experience and that was a big bummer.
But mostly it was awesome. I’m going to let the pictures speak 1,000 words because that’s way more than I feel like writing.
Arriving at Atlantis… just a LITTLE BIT excited
Artistic Aquarium shot
Gang’s all here!
Eagerly waiting their turn…
Wet suits are ON. (So is the complimentary snorkel equipment, for some reason.)
Dancing with Tamara!
High-speed push from Tamara (Loud One wasn’t so sure about this one)
*Quick note… right after this wake boarding activity, the Loud One needed to pee and there was NO WAY IN HELL she was putting a WET wet suit back on (can’t say I blamed her), so she and I sat the rest out. Some of our group continued on to do a few more activities that involved commanding the dolphins to perform tricks. This, too, looked very cool from our lounge chair on the beach.
Yes, those dolphins are real. And very, very well-trained.
All good things must come to an end. 😦
So now we’ve been back for two days and the Loud One has not stopped playing with her stuffed dolphin souvenir or showing off her photo album.
Despite her reservations, she loved this trip. I THINK they all loved this trip. How could they not? The five meals we ate at the buffet alone (“THEY HAVE A CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN!!!”) were awesome. Giggling together in a huge hotel room. Swimming. Water slides. Endless french fries. And then throw in a dance with a dolphin? BAM. Memories for life.
And in case you’re wondering, YES, we really do know how lucky we are to have our Grammy.