Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Great Wolf Lodge (aka Wave Pool)

On Monday and Tuesday we took the kids to the Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells for an overnight trip. We planned to meet up with Denis' coworker's family and hang out for the day. The trip to the Dells was three hours and the kids did amazingly well in the car. Thank goodness for the DVD player! They also slept part of the way, ensuring that they would have a late night afterward. Nikko didn't fuss or whine, just sat quietly in his chair watching whatever his siblings subjected him to (Thomas the Tank engine or Ice Age or The Wiggles). We arrived around 6:30pm and went to dinner. There was a little bit of time left to try out the water park amenities until the 9pm closing time. The kids loved the splash pads, but Nikko's true love was the wave pool. He let out some terrible cries when it was time to vacate the park, but it couldn't be helped. As I mentioned before, the kids fell asleep by 10:30p and not without me having to lay down with each of them to quiet their restless souls. After breakfast the next day, we were pretty much glued to the wave pool. Denis took the kids to the other slides, but one of us was always near Nikko.

If ever there was an activity that was the ideal sensory stimulator for Nikko, I would now peg it as the wave pool. What better way for him to be completely immersed in water, plus have the added benefit of waves crashing into his body with lots of force? Nikko tried to doggy paddle through the waves and I swear he is getting better at teaching himself how to swim. Every five minutes or so, the waves would stop and then start up again. The alarm preceding the waves was a recorded wolf howl. Nikko learned that whenever he heard the howl, the waves would start. And so when the waves stopped, he would swim over to Denis or me, look at us expectantly and howl. We joked that we should record the wolf howl and play it back every time we wanted Nikko to do something for us! Nikko picked up on conquering the waves rather quickly, timing his jumps with each rise. He never looked tired. NEVER. Nikko was truly in his own element. We couldn't get him to take a break for food or juice. The only thing that worked was for me to pick him up and drag him to the table, immediately shoving pizza into his face so he would see it and start eating. That's really what it took. Taking a break just wasn't an option for him. Toward the end of the day Nikko managed to run to the table a few times, grab a bite of leftover pizza, and come running back to the wave pool with crust shoved into his mouth. I don't think Nikko really looked for either Denis or myself when he was in the wave pool, I don't think he cared if we were nearby, and I don't think he cared about anything at all except the waves and the next wolf howl.

Leaving time was challenging. We had to take each kid to the showers one by one, and Nikko was last of course. He protested angrily, crying and yelling and thrashing. I was able to give him lollipops to settle down, and when he was able to sit still in a chair I could see the fatigue start to drift over his face. Nikko had been in the wave pool for almost six hours and he sported red blisters under his big toes from bouncing in the waves. He also swallowed quite a bit of water because he started coughing intermittently. Today he was sniffly and mellow so I warned the camp staff that he may not be compliant. Thankfully, I got a good report that he had a great day.

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