Milk and Whiskey met up at Lego Land California recently for Whiskey’s oldest boy’s birthday party. We also stayed at the Lego Hotel, which is really expensive, but how often do you get to stand around enjoying happy hour in a Lego themed lobby bar while your kids watch a play about a wizard and a dragon who thinks it’s a cat? I highly recommend it.
When we first checked in the nice lady behind the counter at the hotel handed each child a pamphlet with a treasure hunt on it. We were staying in the “Adventure Theme” wing, (because it’s the cheapest), which is sort of like the Indiana Jones universe made of Lego. The treasure hunt requires the kids to scour the hotel in search of clues that they would then use to unlock a Lego treasure box that contains, yep you guessed it…More Lego! We figured it’d be a good way to kill some time before dinner.
After a long ass day trying to convince small children that water slides weren’t death traps, and then just going on the rides without them, we dragged our theme park weary butts up to our respective hotel rooms. Conveniently, they were located across the hall from each other so we could just prop the doors open and let the littles careen back and forth. The kids were showing no signs of being tired and were jumping up and down clutching their treasure maps and begging to explore. The engineer produced a bottle of rye from his suitcase, Milk had a box of wine, and I whipped out a bottle of good tequila. The kids, familiar with our ways, became even more desperate because next thing they knew the playing cards would come out, the grownup talk would begin, and they would be screwed. A deal was struck. We ordered a pizza, poured a couple of travelers, and then Milk and I volunteered to take the kids out on the treasure hunt.
We were still searching for shoes for the two younger kids (“How did you already lose a SHOE? It’s a tiny room!?” when the Madness and Dapper bolted out of our room and down the hall. Milk and I, cocktails in hand, one-shoed kindergartners in tow, followed. “Hey, wait for us!” I yelled down an empty hallway.
“Don’t worry” said Milk, “I’m sure they’re making fart jokes in front of the elevator” Farts are really, really funny when you’re eight.
“Yeah, Dapper wouldn’t go far without an adult.”
We got to the elevator, which boasts a giant whoopie cushion in the carpeting, but there were no kids.
“Well shit.” I said and pushed the button. I looked at the first clue on one of the little kids maps. “I’m sure they’re in the lobby counting Lego palm trees.” I reassured myself. “He never does this,” I assured my sister.
“Ummm, yeah,” she agreed. We both had our slacker-parent game faces on. “Let’s never tell mom about this.”
We got to the lobby. Nothing. Just a sea of primary colors and all kinds of screeching children and haggard looking adults. Milk took a big sip of her travel-wine. “Shit. Shit-shit-shit.” She did the non-challant parent jog around the lego castle, swearing under her breath and making that “of course I didn’t lose my kid” face we all make sometimes at the park.
We checked the next clue, nobody there. The next clue made me nervous because it took them to the edge of the hotel property and right up to the entrance to the theme park. Of course they had hand stamps. And the natural stealth of kids who are confidently supervising each other.
“How do they even know what a plaza IS?” we asked each other. “Or a frickin’ sconce!?”
We began to formulate a plan on how to reacquire both of the kids in time to scold them thoroughly, and avoid being scolded thoroughly ourselves by Dr. Wife and The Engineer. After all, they are the ones with real jobs and health insurance, and the least we could do is keep track of a couple of children for fifteen minutes, I mean do they have to do EVERYTHING???
Panic was setting in.
MiLK grabbed the kids. “I’ll take the little ones upstairs so you can move faster.”
“Yeah, and I’ll tear ass around the hotel on this floor and you can go floor by floor down from above.”
“A classic Pincers movement,” Milk said, shoving all that uncomfortable panic down before it turned into a discernible emotion.
“Rommel,” We briefly harmonized.
We split up and I searched ever more frantically. Where the hell could they be? By themselves they are usually reserved but when you get cousins together it’s Bad Ideas Inc.
Just as I was checking the pool – oh dear GOD not a pool! – I got simultaneous texts from MiLK and Dr. Wife.
Dr. Wife: “Um, so the older kids just showed back up by themselves.”
MiLK: “Those little bastards beat us back.”
“Scold them,” was my response.
So when I got back MiLK was putting the fear of God into the Madness and Dapper was trying to disappear into a wall in case Auntie’s crazy had any spillover. Then we banished the kids to the back room to play with the Lego stuff they’d earned with the treasure hunt. I topped off my tequila.
As the ethanol kicked in, we both agreed that while we were upset that they had vanished, they had been resourceful and independent, and intelligent enough to solve a riddle in an unfamiliar hotel, find several different locations and get back to the rooms completely by themselves, and do it in record time. Guess this growing up thing is happening.