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, he called them.

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

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

“Hey this is like the tunnel in Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland,” I whispered to D on the Calico Mine ride as we started to careen through a mining tunnel.

“Where are the fireflies?” he asked.

I knew D was picturing Elmo stuck in a mining tunnel and being led to safety by a pack official  fireflies to make it to Mt Pick-a-Nose to rescue his blue blanket from the evil villian Huxley.

He was snuggled next to me, and I saw his eyes grew big with fear at the sight of the mummy miners slinging their pickaxes to the accompaniment of spooky music. And my eyes did too.

From reflecting his eyes. 

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But rather than see Knott’s through D’s eyes, I was preoccupied with monitoring his behavior. The Wife’s objective was for D to stay calm, and if we were to achieve harmony, I knew this had to my objective too.

I was just less enthusiastic about it.

I wanted D to be able run from one ride to the next–to have a tangible way of expressing his excitement–if that’s what he felt like doing. But if the wife and I were to achieve unity, I knew

The Wife asked me three times at lunch, “What are we going to do if D has a meltdown? WHAT…ARE.. WE…GOING…TO … DO?” I was less worried about unknown possibilities, so it was hard to take her  incern seriously.

Nevertheless, our first trip to Knott’s was a success. The Wife will say I got huffy (a few times) when she told me to do something (many times), and she would be right in her assessment.

I enforced the rule of D staying an arm’s distance away. Maybe, not as much as the Wife, and not as often as  the Wife would have liked me to remind D. However, it wasn’t necessary because D kept his body regulated the entire day.

I only became huffy from the Wife’s constant reminders to monitor D’s behavior. I was frustrated because I wanted to have fun with D, and not have my sole focus be continuously monitoring his behavior.

Another moment I succeeded at seeing Knott’s through D’s eyes was on the Feris Wheel. D and I were temporarily suspended in our cart at the  top position to load in new passengers. We were screaming and pretending to be freaked out when my phone beeped.

“His feet should not be dangling over the side,” the Wife texted. “Can you please make sure that D’s feet remain in the cart …”


Seriously, though, I know the day wasn’t about me. It was about us. The Wife and I being united in our parenting and enjoying the day together with our son, and if it meant sacrificing how I wanted to act, I willing did it for unity’s sake.

Mostly willingly, I have to admit.

I know our trip was a huge success given we avoided the difficulties we usually experience, and we even discussed possibly getting season passes to Knott’s on the way home.


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