On Conquering Roller Coasters (And Then Not)

Doing something once doesn’t make it a habit. This is something parenting teaches you over and over again. Just because she ate her vegetables for the first time doesn’t mean that she’s now a vegetable eater any more than you going for that first jog makes you a runner.

I took Daughter and her pal to the amusement park yesterday because Daughter had been asking to go all summer. It was a surprising request, given that she has never shown the slightest bit of nerve for thrill rides; we used to live a 45 minute drive from Disneyland, and in all of her trips there up to age 8, she wouldn’t go near anything more daring than Dumbo.

But she professed a new resolve–a new desire, even–and so we went. She started with the small one, which is still a roller coaster, so . . . win. From there we went directly to Superman Ultimate Flight, which is as coaster as coaster gets, and then to the newest one with the longest line, a 25 second pin-your-ears-back dare to the universe called Max Force. Done.

After lunch we conquered the old wooden classic, American Eagle. Okay, so now Daughter rides roller coasters. It’s a thing she does.


Because just a few hours later she fell apart at the front of the line for a roller coaster far less challenging than the three she’d already completed. I had to step out of line with her and wait for her friend to ride alone.

After that she would only entertain rides she’d already conquered.

But conquer them she did.

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