Monday, November 08, 2004

It was a zoo all right

Our playgroup met at the zoo today, never mind that it was 45 degrees at the 2:30 meeting time. At 1pm I decided not to go, it was cold, it was a hassle to pack the kids up, I was just feeling like a slug. At 1:45 A woke up hollering, C started shoving multiple CD's into a 1 CD player, and I shouted "Quick! A trip to the zoo! Go, go go!" I hauled the double stroller into the car, dug out the fleece bunting for A, packed snacks, printed out directions, and practically manhandled C onto the potty to try and preempt an accident on the way there. 20 minutes later we are off.

C bounces up and down (or a least tries to) in his car seat shouting "The zoo! The zoo!" for about 15 minutes. Never mind that he has not a clue what a zoo is, as the bad parents that we are have not taken him yet (the hassle, the shlep factor...). Five minutes before we arrive, both he and A conk out in their seats. A small internal debate rages. Do I wake them (the zoo closes in an hour, if we are going we need to go now)? Do I drive around and then pick a random destination and call it the zoo? I finally opt for the actual zoo trip figuring that 10 years from now calling the bookstore the zoo would come back to haunt me. We arrive, I wake and load kids into the stroller and race through the gates trying to catch up with everyone.

At this point I realize that I have forgotten a jacket for me (remember, 47 degrees) and am in slippery-heeled slides (pushing a double stroller with 50lbs worth of kids up hill). It's OK I reason, we are out enjoying the (brisk) fresh air and I will get adult company. "Look! The penguins" I holler as we race by. "Look that's a...a..." I squint at the sign "Wallaby!" "What's a wallaby?" C peeps from the stroller "Ummm, an animal." I think I spot a pink hat resembling Lydia's and a gaggle of strollers at the top of the next hill.

I pant my way up to the top and, yes, we have indeed found them. C hops out of the stroller and careens about hugging his friends. I was a good mommy to bring him I think as I bend over to check A's hat position. I look up, and C is gone. "C, come back!" I holler. "I'm counting to 3." No sign. The other mommies convene and he is quickly found mooing at the Elk. A starts to holler. I go to grab my savior, the Baby Bjorn, and it's not there. Not a huge deal, I'll just carry her for a bit I think. "C! Where are you!"

I soon become the mom I always feared and condemned, you know who she is, the screecher who can't seem to control her children out in public. I also quickly develop a new respect for the screecher as I race through the zoo holding A on a hip and pushing the double stroller with one hand while trying to stay in eye contact with C. You have to be in great shape to have enough lungpower to make your voice carry while running full tilt.

C is finally corralled and I quickly load us all onto the little train that travels around the zoo's perimeter so I could catch my breath before facing the trek back to the car. As we round a bend and head towards the end, C snuggles up to me and says, "I love you mommy. A choo choo and ducks all in one day. Will daddy know what a wallaby is?" It made it (almost) all worth it.