How old are you?

Thanks to certain battle that happened during our first visit to Sea World, it was over a year before we went back. When we went finally did return, C was just a few months shy of 3 years old. 3 years old is a very important point in a child’s development. It’s the point at which you start having to pay to take them into the amusement parks.

As with all the parks, at SeaWorld, you purchase your tickets in one line, and then enter the park through a second line. While we were waiting in this second line, I overheard someone talking about the proof of age they’d brought for their two year old. Apparently, the “word on the street” was that they were being very serious about checking the ages of 2 year-olds.

This was bad news for me. My little guy was less than 3, but he was a very good talker, and I had no proof of age. Nothing makes a child seem older than the ability to speak clearly.

Further complicating the situation was the fact that his momma was well behind us in line, carrying his 11 month old brother. Thanks to the vaguaries of foot traffic, we had become separated by several rather pushy people. When I’d tried to go back to join her, she’d waved me on, saying that we could get a map while we waited for her to get through the line.

So it was just me and C, facing the ticket inquisition all by ourselves.

Since I was carrying him anyway, I started quietly coaching him. I figured the ticket takers would probably ask him how old he was.

“How old are you?”

He smiled and held out two fingers, “Two!”

We high-fived. A few moments later, I said “Wait a minute, how old are you?”

He giggled, “Two!”

We high-fived again. “How old was that?”


Another high-five and I subsided. We shuffled along in the line until it was almost our turn at the ticket taker. I’d relaxed pretty much by now. I’d seen no sign of interrogation, and I was confident in my prep. Even so, I couldn’t resist one last time. I whispered to him, “how old are you?”

He grinned his biggest grin and shouted ”Five!”

I’d like to say I recovered well, but it sort of took my breath away. Just as I was starting to say “noooo”, the ticket taker said “next please.”

I stepped forward and, true to form, my little guy looked over at her and said “I’m five.”

I shook my head and started to say “no”, but the ticket taker just laughed, took our tickets, and waved us through.

I love the ticket takers at Sea World. I really do.

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