Monday, September 19, 2011

Good Day

As I mentioned in my last post, Jacob and I had a good day on Saturday.  Most of the day was pretty low key, but there was still a distinct lack of yelling and threatening.  I'm sure it happened, but it wasn't how we spent the vast majority of our time, so that was noticeably nicer.  Craig had a bachelor party to go to--fairly tame, and only from 4pm to 7pm--and since we've been trying to get to the zoo and Jacob really wanted to go, he and I headed out there even though we only had a little more than an hour to spend there.  Thankfully it's a small zoo :)

As always, we had fun.  Some days certain animals are more active, some days others are.  Saturday happened to be the day that one of the polar bears was highly entertaining.  Yes, maybe he was just hanging around with a big plastic barrel, but he was so close and so cool to watch with his BIG paws...

The sea lions were also swimming furiously, which was fun to watch, and we got a rare glimpse of an otter, one of our favorites.  Jacob also got to check out the new fossil dig feature, which I think is just a small example of something that's going into the new lion exhibit that's under construction.  He had fun "digging" through the gravel.
Since the zoo was pretty much deserted by the end (we got there 15 minutes before the gates closed, leaving us just over an hour to walk around), I let Jacob crawl into the tunnel to the special viewing area of the cougar.  I figured that if he refused to come out, I could crawl in there with little embarrassment risk to retrieve him.
The tunnels go to this observation area right in the middle of the cougar exhibit.  It's pretty cool, but the tunnels aren't particularly parent-friendly.
Another thing he got to do that we normally don't do is play on the playground.  I'm not sure why we don't--maybe because we always get there late and are rushing through the animals, or maybe it's because the play areas are usually so busy, or because he's hated playgrounds up until now--but considering his new-found enjoyment of slides and the fact that they were empty when we came back through with a few minutes to spare, I let him play.  He went down the slide a couple times and crawled through this tunnel...

On the way out we walked past the rhinos and I happened to notice something funny:
Hint: Check out the rhino's butt
There was what looks like a tranquilizer dart in the rhino's butt!  I understand that they probably need to do that sometimes to do testing or whatever, but holy cow, can't they wait the extra five minutes until everyone is out of the zoo?!  It was just a little weird seeing that.  Maybe it was just me, but the rhino already looked a little drugged when I saw his face.  Oh, and right after that as we were looking at the meerkats as we passed back through the monkey house, there was a kid (an astute 8 or 9 year old) who mentioned he noticed it too!  Eeesh.

After the zoo, we headed out for a quick dinner and a little shopping.  Jacob ate his food very well, which is a rarity when we go out.  I even introduced him to one of the joys of fast food--Taco Bell Cinnamon Twists.  He also did pretty well when we were shopping, despite the fact that I was unable to find a stroller cart at Kohl's.  He did have a freak-out when we were in the changing room trying on pants because he really wanted one pair of pants that I initially only saw in a size bigger.  We didn't get those so he was freaking out, and he was generally uncooperative while trying on other types of pants because he only wanted that pair.  In the end I did find the ones he wanted in his size and all was right with the world.

As a whole, he was a really good boy all day.  Did he have moments?  Of course he did...he's three.  But they didn't take over our whole day or outshine the fun we had.  I don't know how much of that is a result of a well-rested mommy or the choice of activities or any other perspective-changers, but as a whole the entire day seemed like so much less of a battle than usual.  And man, was that ever nice.  A day like that allows you to fall back in love with your child and enjoy them so much more over the long term.  No, you never stop loving your child, but there's a point where the difficulties start to outweigh the joy.  Everything they do seems inherently adversarial, and it's tough to appreciate even the good moments.  They find ways to ruin even the most foolproof fun activity and leave you wondering why you even try.
Still, as a whole it was a pretty successful weekend.  Back to the grind, unfortunately...

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