Yesterday we took Abby to Legoland. Multiple friends told us that it’s perfect for Abby at her age.

They lied. Or at least, they didn’t mention that there are certain caveats. Here’s one: if your kid is a wuss, be absolutely certain that she doesn’t go on a ride that might be remotely scary. It has the potential to ruin the day.

We hyped Legoland up enough that Abby was pretty excited about going. When we got there, we rode a plane ride that she loved, and after she got off, she exclaimed, “I love Legoland!” We were pleased.

Then (at my suggestion) Jieun took her on another ride, The Lost Kingdom Adventure. Big mistake. Huge mistake. It was a dark, kind of loud ride that really frightened her. Abby’s easily frightened. There are still certain Clifford The Big Red Dog episodes that scare her. This particular ride was too much for her and she came out shuddering and talking non-stop about how scary it was. We felt terrible and tried to remedy it by taking her on what we thought was a safe ride, exactly like one she had ridden at Lotte World. Didn’t work – she was now primed to be scared, and on the same ride she loved in Korea, she now yelled in fear.

After she got off, she kept saying repeatedly, “I don’t like Legoland. I want to go back to the hotel.” Yikes. She also interspersed that by saying she didn’t want to see any Legos – apparently there were some Lego statues on the ride that were scary. Every time she saw another Lego statue, she freaked out. Hmm. Avoiding Legos at Legoland was going to be… difficult. Mind you, this is at around 10:30 AM. I immediately thought about all the non-refundable money we had spent on stupid Legoland tickets that would be going to waste. But I wasn’t going to force her to stay. There didn’t seem much point in that.

But Jieun said we needed to stay positive, so despite her chanting every 30 seconds “I don’t like Legoland. I want to go back to the hotel,” we decided to try. We took a long, leisurely early lunch, trying to take her mind off the scary ride experience. We then spent a good amount of time playing at a Lego store, just to reinforce that all Legos aren’t scary, just some. And that worked. She got over her fear of Legos and was willing, though not eager, to stay, although she kept reminding us that she didn’t to ride any of the scary rides at Legoland, and she deemed nearly every ride scary.

It took the rest of the day to slowly warm her up to everything else. A really mild ride here and there. Meeting the random Princess Lily. Going to the non-scary playground. I’m not sure we ever got to the point where she was excited about Legoland, but she seemed to be having a reasonable time. Even on some rides. However, literally every 10 minutes she kept talking about how “Kingdom Lost Adventure” was so scary, and how “mommy ruined my day.” (Every time, Jieun corrected her, reminding her that the ride was my idea, thus mommy *and* daddy ruined her day.) It was both sad and hilarious seeing how much that ride scarred her.

By the end of the day, we made enough progress that she was actually expressing desire to go on certain rides, so Jieun took her on the Fairy Tale Adventure. Whoooooops. I was watching the boats go by while holding Joshua, and when Abby came along, I saw her clutching Jieun for dear life. Apparently this was another scary ride. She came out and exclaimed, full of fear, “Mommy ruined my day again!” So yeah, the day did not end well. As we were going home, she talked about how she didn’t like San Diego and she didn’t like Legoland and please don’t take her there ever again.

In fact, she kept talking about it the rest of the night, and even today. This morning, when we woke up, I tried to prime her to think happy thoughts by talking about how we were going to the beach today. She quickly changed the subject and wanted to talk about Kingdom Lost Adventure and how scary it was. Dang. So yeah, not a positive experience for her. When you see her, ask her about Legoland, and she’ll launch into a long monologue about how scary it is and how much she doesn’t like it. It’s sad.

I have no idea why we insist on taking Abby to these expensive places when the things that please her most are actually the cheapest. There’s almost a perfect inverse relationship between how much things cost and how much Abby likes them. Like, while we were in San Diego, I’d say the rank of things she liked, from most to least, were: swimming pool, TV shows, beach, zoo, Legoland. Even at Legoland, she clearly liked the playground area best. Next vacation, I’m taking her swimming every day and filling up the rest of the time with TV. It will be her favorite vacation ever.

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