Elliott's Third Birthday!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Or: The Long French Fry Road to Chicago

As of Sunday, we no longer have a toddler, but are in possession of one full-fledged male preschooler. Slap me silly and knock me down with a feather.

Instead of having a party that we have no one to invite to, we took Elliott all the way to Schaumburg, Illinois to bask in the corporate and plastic glory of Legoland. He goddamn loved it. Phew.

We packed up the car and set one very flat, very brownish-gray course for Chicago on Saturday morning. But first we had to stop for birthday French fries. Birthday French fries procured, and all favorite books and toys placed within reach in the backseat, we drove in a straight line for three and half hours until we got to Chicago. Then we drove in concentric circles for half an hour trying to find the hotel while bargaining and pleading with Waze to please stop recalculating our route.

We stayed at the Kinzie Hotel in River North, which was awesome, Saturday night. Elliott said he wanted pizza for dinner, which he immediately took back when we said OK. Since there are no restaurants in Chicago, to our knowledge, that serve Cheerios and yogurt, we stuck with the pizza plan and went to Lou Malnati's for some deep dish. The waitress figured out that it was Elliott's birthday and brought him a little pizookie with a candle in it after mom and dad had finished stuffing their faces with various combinations of cheese and bread. The entire restaurant sang happy birthday to him.  Just look at his face. I'm dead.

After dinner, we took a brisk walk, flopped on the sturdy hotel bed, and packed it in early for our 10:00 a.m. date with Legoland.

 Legoland was a success, despite some early warning signs that pointed toward disaster. We arrived as it opened, but there were already passels of unruly young ones in line and Elliott freaked out in the first, jungle-themed room (I guess giant monkeys made out of Legos swinging from Lego branches in the dark aren't his thing). Things quickly improved as we moved into the areas where you could actually play with the Legos. We spent some time in the city room, but Elliott was really frustrated that all the cool stuff like firetrucks and robber guys were glued down. We spent a good amount of time making various vehicles to fling down a big ramp -- we all got into that one, attempting to design the car that would keep all of its pieces on the way down, we literally did this until the wheels fell off. We found a water table, which didn't end in Elliott screaming about his wet pants (which happened at several points during our drive). We stopped for a hot dog and chocolate milk before taking in a 3-D Lego movie and doing a janky Duplo "factory" tour. We posed with Lego Batman (terrifying) and Lego R2-D2 (also terrifying) before letting Elliott pick one small Duplo set to take home (he picked the one with the robber guy and the police car) and headed back home, paying several miniscule and baffling tolls along the way.

Elliott said he had a good birthday, especially because we had even more French fries on the way home and let him have pancakes for dinner.

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