One of our birthday traditions for the kids is a trip to the Magic Kingdom at Disney.
C’s trip (he just turned 5) started out a little rocky. The big guy was acting strangely all morning. When we talked about what rides we were going to do, he was quiet. When we talked about things that did not interest him, he was jittery and loud. He was acting completely opposite to our expectations. He insisted that he wanted to go, though, so we did.
When we arrived at the park, I finally realized what was going on: he was scared. He was dying to do the big boy rides (Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad), but he was also scared of them.
We hopped the train to those rides so we could do them first. Might as well get the fear out of the way early, right?
Splash Mountain was first. While his brother and mom waited on the bridge to watch, he and I took the ride.
Most of Splash Mountain is relaxing. There are a few little drops but it’s mostly just a fun boat ride. The end is where it gets you: a long dark climb under vultures that ends in a big drop in the blinding sunlight. I could feel his little heart beating faster and faster as we went up in the dark. He kept patting my hand to make sure it was securely around him, and telling me it would be okay. As we crested the top and headed down, I glanced over to make sure he was okay.
By all appearances, he was screaming his head off: eyes squinted, mouth open, fists clenched. However, there was no sound coming out. He was apparently too scared to make any noise. It was a completely silent scream.
We swooshed down the waterfall and glided around to the end. Suddenly, he looked at me. “Hey! I didn’t scream! I didn’t scream!”
“No, you didn’t make a noise,” I agreed.
“I didn’t! I was brave! I was brave!”
As soon as we left the ride, he ran to his momma. “Momma, momma! I didn’t scream! I didn’t scream!”
The rest of the day was, quite literally, a walk in the park.