FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

Knott’s Berry Farm

Written By: Scot Butwell - Aug• 11•15

knotts 1You 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) we went on in the first hour.

This was my desire–to see Knott’s Berry Farm through D’s eyes—but I failed, despite a few all to brief moments when I managed to forget my supervisory role as a parent.

L’s objective was for D to keep his body regulated at all times, and if we were to achieve harmony, I knew this had to be my goal as well. I was just much less enthusiastic about it.

“WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO IF D HAS A MELTDOWN?” L asked me during lunch in a panicky tone that brought an image of the eternally-worrying, red-violet monster Telly from Sesame Street to my mind.

When she repeated her question two more times, that’s when I realized her expectation for the day was probably the complete opposite of what I hoped to experience at Knott’s Berry Farm.

Translation: L had no interest in seeing Knott’s through a kid’s eyes—she was solely interested making sure that remained stayed calm and followed her (our) behavior rules.

We had no plan of attack when we arrived, and since neither of us are too handy with the map, this added an extra layer of stress to our first hour—just figuring out which way to go.

Our first ride was on the Calico Mine Ride, a winding trip through dimly-lit tunnels to an underground gold mine filled with bubbling pots, steaming geysers and miners slinging axes.

“Hey, this is like the coal mine in The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland where Huxley’s henchbugs Little Ricky and Howard try to trap Elmo,” I whispered to D.

“Where are the fireflies?” he asked.

(In case you haven’t seen the movie, pack of fireflies rescue Elmo in The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland.)

D snuggled close to me in the mining car, and his eyes widened at the mysterious rock formations, grizzled miners, hissing geysers and spooky music, and my eyes grew bigger too.

From reflecting his eyes. 

Knotts b 2

This was one of the few times when I achieved my goal of seeing Knott’s Berry Farm through D’s eyes. But after I stayed focused on enforcing L’s rule of D being an arm’s distance from us.

I wanted to run from ride to ride—if D felt so inclined—and to take my mind off constantly monitoring his behavior, and to enjoy being at an amusement park together with my son and wife.

That’s how I would have done it—less monitoring, more freedom—but I knew it was more important for L and I to be united in our parenting, and I sacrificed my way of doing Knott’s.

L will say that I got snippy a few times when she told me to do something, and she would be right. I was not quite as vigilant as she was in reminding D of the rules every thirty seconds.

One other moment I will remember—when I briefly saw Knott’s through D’s eyes—occurred when D and I became suspended on the Ferris Wheel at the top position while new passengers were being loaded into the other carts.

We were screamed, pretending to be scared, and the my phone beeped. It was a text from L: “His feet should not be dangling over the side… can you please make sure D’s feet remain in the cart.”

The text sort of killed it. Seriously, though, the day wasn’t about me. It was about our family, and it was about L and I being united in our parenting, and if this meant sacrificing freedom of spirit to monitor D’s behavior, then I willing did it for the sake of unity

Well, mostly willingly, since I’m sure my snippiness represented my frustration of suppressing my goal to see Knott’s through a kid’s eyes.

The main thing is, I know our trip was a success because we avoided conflict and even discussed getting season passes to Knott’s Berry Farm. Trust me, that’s tremendous progress.

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