FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

Knott’s Berry Farm

Written By: Scot Butwell - Aug• 11•15

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You have to see an amusement park through a kid’s eyes. You just have to. It’s the only way to do it. No adding up the cost of the day. No thinking about $4.99 for a small bag of chocolate golden coins. Yummies, D called them.

No stressing over $14.99 for a cheeseburger, fries, and coke. No calculating the number of rides (two) you’ve been on in the first hour.

This was my desire–to see Knott’s Berry Farm through a kid’s eyes–really D’s–but I mostly failed, despite a few brief moments when I succeeded by forgetting my role as a parent.

“Hey, this is like the tunnel in The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland,” I whispered to D as we entered a dark mining tunnel in a cart on the Calico Mine ride.

“Where are the fireflies?” he asked.

I knew D was probably picturing Elmo stuck in a mining tunnel with a pack of fireflies leading him from being trapped by the cartoonishly evil villian Huxlie in coal mine.

He snuggled close to me, and his eyes grew big with fear at the spooky music and the mummy miners slinging their pickaxes, and my eyes widened too. From reflecting his eyes. 

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However, L’s objective was for D to keep body regulated. And if we were to achieve harmony, I knew this would have to be my goal as well. This meant I focused on monitoring D’s behavior.

I was just less enthusiastic about it. I wanted D to be allowed to run from one ride to the next to express his excitement or scream on a roller coaster of that’s how he was feeling.

“What are we going to do if D has a meltdown?” L asked me three times during lunch in a panicky tone that reminded me of Tele from Sesame Street.  “What…ARE WE GOING TO DO?”

My main concern, and I think this is true for most people going to an amusement park, is that I wanted D to have a time fun. I didn’t think he would have a meltdown.

Nevertheless, our first trip to Knott’s Berry Farm was a success. L will say that  I got huffy a few times when she told me to do something, and she would be right in her assessment.

I made an effort to enforce the her rule of D staying an arm’s distance away from us. Maybe, not as much as the L, and not as often as the she would have liked me to remind D.

But monitoring D wasn’t necessary since he kept his body regulated the entire day. I became huffy only from L’s frequent reminders to make sure D was an arm’s distance away from us.

Plus, my generized irritatation–which I found hard to ignore and/or suppress–was directly proportional to my frustration at not being able see Knott’s through my son’s eyes.

One memory I will not forget is when D and I were screaming on the Ferris Wheel as our cart was suspended in the top position amd new passengers were loaded into the other carts.

We were  faking it, of course.

Bit I still felt on the verge of seeing Knott’s from D’s perspective; that is, until I got this text from the L: “His feet should not be dangling over the side,” it said. “Can you please make sure D’s feet remain in the cart.”


Seriously, though, the day wasn’t about me. It was about us. L and I being together–and united in our parenting–with our son, and if this meant sacrificing how I feantrd to act, then I willing did it for unity’s sake.

Mostly willingly, I have to admit. But not completely.

I know our trip was a success because mot only did L and I not have amy conflict, but we also discussed getting season passes to Knott’s Berry Farm.


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