Today I finally caved in and took the two kids to the Akvaparks.....But first, we had to get there! HAHA! Nothing is ever as simple as it seems, eh? It was actually quite easy to locate the shuttle bus that would take us there, but Latvian shuttle bus does not equal American shuttle bus. It looked like a really upscale Mercedes multi passenger van, and indeed, it was....trouble was, there is NO maximum capacity. So here I am thinking a shuttle will be nicer and more spacious than a train or bus and man, was that a miscalculation.
For those who don't know me too well, I am a weeeee bit claustrophobic...the capacity should have been about 15 on this bus and it was probably double that. So we STOOD up, on the interstate crammed into a hot, unventilated bus. What happened to safety and seatbelts?!?!?! I really had to focus on breathing deeply because I was getting nauseated and motion sick and the sticky heat was not helping. I hoped the man's head in front of me would not become a bullseye because I was in danger of vomiting. Natasha knew something was wrong, but she kept scooting closer to me and resting her sweaty little cheek on my back and shoulder in an effort to comfort me, which only succeeded in making me hotter and more desperate for air.
When those doors opened at our stop, I just stopped and INHALED the cool air. FREEDOM!
Arrival at the water park produced two seriously jazzed up kids. Eyes glazed over, voices got shrilly, and I think I heard, "Mom!!!" about 765 times before we even got in locker rooms. And the locker rooms are co-ed, by the way ;-) Actually, as a mom, they were a relief because if you have little boys of the 7-10 range that you really don't WANT in the men's room alone, this is a good solution. The lockers, showers, and such are co-ed and private changing rooms are available. Again we had super cool arm bands with the chip in them that granted us locker access, provided a tab for our lunch, and could be used at the swim up bar (where Natasha purchased some kids cocktail.)
And swim suits, oooooooh the swimsuits, must be mentioned. hehe Toddler girls wore no tops, which reminded me of how my kids played outside till we acquired neighbors and I thought it might be frowned on. Men wore the little bitty speedos. And even old ladies wore bikinis. I had to giggle at the sight of these tops, straining with their load, and the ample rear ends that seemed to gobble up the miniscule bikini bottoms.
Dima reminded me of a jackrabbit. His feet barely touched the ground. I could not go fast enough up the stairs for this kid. After 2 hours, I stopped trying before he killed me.
Natasha had a little "Come to Jesus" moment today. We were all floating down the lazy river together and within 5 feet of each other--easy viewing distance--and she apparently became so overcome with excitement that she just decided to go........elsewhere?!?! SOMEWHERE that didn't involve even letting me know where she was off too! I blinked and somehow LOST an entire kid. Now, I have been a parent for 9 years and to 4 kids and I have NEVER lost ONE! I have had her 9 days and already she's disappearing. GROAN.
I climb out of the lazy river and begin searching for her and I don't see her anywhere (isn't that always the case?!?!?) Dima does not seem particularly alarmed and I DO notice that all of the kids seem to be enjoying more freedom than AMerican kids do. We look, and look, and I start getting really annoyed with her. I keep scanning the crowds for her swimsuit as we wait in the line for a slide, then again as we finish. No Natasha. GRUMBLE. Now I am seriously getting worried (it's been about 20 minutes). I return to the lazy river and there she is.....she can't see me, but I can see her and her eyes are HUGE and panic stricken. HA! Vengeance!
I watch her for a moment, her eyes filled with terror as SHE scans the crowds for ME. Then I rescue her. "NATASHA!" I call out. She scurries out of that river faster than I have ever seen her move. Then, as I scold her, she cries. I am GLAD she was upset because I was ANGRY! She had taken it upon herself to just dart outside to the outdoor section and must have slipped right out the side door. I told her she is NOT allowed to leave without telling me, NOT EVER. I take it for granted that at 11 and 13 they know the rules like little kids do! She is 11 and 2 all at the same time.
Once my hearbeat returned, the day went well. Kids had a great time. European lifeguards are remarkably lax, I have noticed. No overbearing screaming if your child gets excited and walk-runs to the next attraction; no whistle blowing for horseplay, etc. However, I did get into trouble for......using a camera. Yup. I am guilty of <gasp> taking pictures. He made me put it back before I even got any good shots. Killjoy.
Despite the camera incident, we had a nice day. THey are tired. Mission accomplished.