March 25, 2005

The Zoo Farm

Today we headed to the MN Zoo for the opening of their outdoor farm and to see the farm babies. The kids did enjoy seeing the babies but it was overwhelming. It seemed everyone else had the same idea and it was very crowded. We went with some friends and the kids enjoyed being together. Ciaran was a bit more challenging than usual at the zoo. He is usually very agreeable there but I think the crowds were a bit for him too and this time we had an agenda, we usually do not. I had to keep saying no or wait to him and I don't think it was as much fun for him. We watched the dolphin show, unusual for us as I usually am not patient enough to sit with the three kids by myself the amount of time you need to in order to get seats. It was the first thing we did today and with another mom there and kids to keep mine busy the wait passed uneventful and everyone enjoyed the show.

At that moment I was reminded of visiting the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago with my parents when I was in college and my younger brothers came to visit. I was horrified and totally against the aquarium feeling it was cruel to animals especially the dolphins. Now sitting on the other side of parenthood I understand it much more. I still prefer to see dolphins in the wild, but going to the zoo does make my kids care more about animals and make them want to protect them and helps me explain some of our decisions about vegetarianism and environmentalism. Without this up close interaction with a wide variety of animals I am not sure they would feel the same. So I give a "You were right" to my parents and await the day when Rhiannon gets all up in arms about the cruelty of zoos to me and I need to wait a decade or so before she gets it herself.

Back to the zoo. The farm animals were cute but the kids were disappointed they did not get to hold them. They did get to pet a piglet and a rabbit - but just look at the lamb, kids, chicks and calf. It was so crowded that I was overwhelmed and tired by the time we were done. The kids wanted to go see some of their favorites and I just wanted to leave. I bought Ciaran some plastic frogs and the both of them some ice cream to get out early. Bribery I know but it worked relatively smoothly and I did not have a meltdown or two on my hands and I was able to escape the ever growing crowds.

You would think being from New York that crowds and traffic would not bother me - they do terribly. I get so impatient and I feel the stress settle in my neck and shoulders and I know what is to come. I love that I think standing on line (or inline as Serona would correct me) behind two people is waiting too long and that if my speed drops to 40 I feel like I am crawling on the highway. I don't miss the crowds, lines and traffic of either New York, Chicago or Boston. Having lived in Georgia and smalltown Illinois I experienced the other extreme and have found quite a comfortable place here in the Twin Cities, not too much either way.

After leaving the zoo a little disappointed that we did not see the new Red Panda and with promises to return after the farm animals are done we headed home. The headache came on the car ride home and by the time we got home and I managed to make some lunch and round kids into bed it was in full force. By 4:00 it was blinding, literally I could not keep my eyes open. Sirah was not cooperating for a nap so Rhiannon stepped in, even at such a young age she is perceptive of when mom is really just not feeling well. She played with Sirah nearby as I laid in bed with a pillow over my eyes in one of those you can't really go to sleep because the kids are awake but you can't really stay awake because the pain is too much stupors. I laid there for about an hour before I could successfully keep my eyes open wide enough in the light to get up and normal functioning began again.

The rest of the evening went better, dinner, cleaning and reading the Easter story before bed along with daily opening of our Resurrection Eggs. Serona has several of the dads from our hs support group over tonight and they are watching the Passion of the Christ. I got all three kids to sleep before 10pm, no simple feat especially as Sirah's temper tantrum was so loud it sent Serona running upstairs from his movie to see if everyone was okay. Just brewed some tea, popped some popcorn, started a scarf (I am making brightly colored furry scarves as playthings for my kids now - so far we have purple, lime, bright orange and bright pink, I'm working on yellow now). Time to catch up on reading some blogs as I have my tea and then it is off to bed.

Probably will take a hiatus from blogging until Tuesday.


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