Because we are having such glorious November weather, and because my children don't have school all the livelong week, and because we rarely do anything fun, I decided to be bold and take us all to the zoo.
Most mothers wouldn't consider a little zoo trip a grand feat of bravery. But I do. I had to summon some honest-to-goodness courage from way deep down in my gut to venture into a public place (you know, after outings like this and this and this and this) with my offspring. I also had the brilliant idea to bring a helper, namely my darling friend Rachel, who is 13. As it turned out, because of her help (and maybe because of the warm sunshine), I could relax a little and enjoy the day with my kids.
As usual, the giraffes were our favorite. Lexi declared that she likes giraffes best because they lick her face. Gavin might like them best because we fed them lettuce. [Sidebar: The zoo is a racket. We have a membership and get in "for free," but there are about seventeen extra activities for which there is an extra charge, and therefore, seventeen extra chances for the children of a not-rich mother to whine and cry.]
Kate was enthralled with the animals...and the sleeve of Ritz crackers. She made a terrific mess in the wagon but was super content.
Tyler was our tour guide. He also dispensed very specific animal facts, presumably gleaned from placards around the zoo. Sometimes I think he's a walking encyclopedia. He reminds me a lot of my nerdy little self.
Lexi had a Harry Potter moment with the Burmese python. Well, we pretended she did.
In case you were wondering, this many people weigh the same amount as an adult male gorilla. We saw an adorable baby gorilla, which was the take-home treat of the day for me.
We had lots of fun in the primate house. Later Gavin told us that monkeys have opposable thumbs on their hands and feet. He must have been listening to Tyler.
I took two group photos--one posed and one not. Guess which one took five minutes and which one took a split second.
The moment did come when I knew our zoo fun was nearing an end. In my estimation it was totally worth skipping the big cats section and getting back to the van without a family meltdown. Having a successful family outing felt pretty revolutionary. Rachel was so great with the kids (and fast enough to keep up with Gavin, who kind of operates in his own universe) and just plain fun to have around. It occurred to me that if Garry and I had been able to have a baby as soon as we had wished, that child would be just Rachel's age. I guess that means we have to adopt her.
I think Lexi would approve.