Thursday, October 17, 2013

Another Way to Enjoy a Half Day

Awhile back, I wrote about taking a half day from work and treating myself to a chill-out afternoon, at the local mall because it is convenient to work and day care, has a restaurant that serves quite drinkable margaritas, and has comfy outdoor chairs in which to read.

Today, I took another sort of half day, which was far more tiring but still quite restorative.

I took Petunia to the zoo.

I told her about my plan last week, and every day since I told her, she asked how many days until we would go to the zoo. She was unbelievably excited about our zoo day. So excited that she insisted I wash her favorite Minnie Mouse dress, which was a handmade birthday gift from my Mom, and which must be worn with her favorite Minnie Mouse shoes and Minnie Mouse socks and, yes, Minnie Mouse underwear (and yes, we will change our underwear if we find we're wearing Dora underwear on a day on which we want to wear our Minnie dress).

Anyway, I picked her up at about 12:30, and we drove down to the zoo. She was very excited to get to carry the map without having to fight her big sister for the prerogative, and in fact insisted that we stop almost as soon as we got the map and figure out where to go.

We decided to go see the monkeys first, because she wanted to know how monkeys sleep, and her teacher at day care didn't know. Luckily, the San Diego Zoo has an entire Monkey Trail, and even more luckily, one of the monkeys (a Colombo monkey) was sleeping when we came upon him (or her, I didn't check). Based on the evidence in front of us, we decided that monkeys sleep in trees.

Then she wanted to go see the zebras. I convinced her that we'd need to stop and see some birds and hippos before we got to the zebras, and the map came in quite handy for this. I also got to stop and see the okapis, because (1) they are right next to the hippos and (2) they are my favorite zoo animal (I sympathize with the whole "seems to be put together from spare parts" vibe, since that is how my life sometimes feels).

We did finally see the zebras, as evidenced by this picture that Petunia insisted on taking.

This picture is cropped and enhanced
We next stopped by to try to see the polar bears, but all we saw was one polar bear butt (a source of much amusement later, during dinner). Even Petunia didn't want to take a picture of that.

She wanted to ride the Skyfari from the minute she saw the green gondolas in the sky above us, so after our disappointing visit to the polar bears, we got in line and got into a gondola. I wondered if she'd freak out once we were airborne, but she didn't. She loved the ride, eventually shaking her hand loose from mine and peering over the edge.

The highlight of the day... until we got to the train
After we got off the Skyfari, she played at the playground in the children's zoo area, and then we bought her some new binoculars. Her old ones were unbelievably crappy- it is a good thing they came in her stocking so she thinks they were from Santa and not us. I'd bought Pumpkin some binoculars on a special mommy-and-me zoo trip a couple years ago, and Petunia coveted them. She was thrilled to pick out an almost matching pair- she got blue to Pumpkin's red.

I convinced her to go look at the koalas before caving and buying her a cotton candy (and myself an ice cream). Then she said she was tired and wanted to go home, and so we did. But she perked up quite a bit once we realized the little train that runs outside the zoo was open, and she insisted that we run to catch the departure that was loading when we saw the train. I felt a little silly running for a train that I knew would run again in about 15 minutes, but the smile on Petunia's face when she settled into her seat next t a giant stuffed bear was worth it.

My feet are pretty tired tonight, and my thighs are not letting me forget that I carried Petunia up the hill to see the zebras. But my stress levels are very low, and I have some unbelievably cute pictures, so I call the day a win.

I occasionally lapse back into true mommyblogger mode, because among other things, this blog serves as a way to capture some of things I don't want to forget. But please do continue to comment on yesterday's Ask Cloud post about telling your boss you're pregnant and planning your leave.


  1. Quite possibly my favorite wandsci post. There's so much I love about this post, but possibly the best part is that Petunia decided when she was done. -Ok, that was fun. Let's go.- But I imagine she's very much her mother's daughter :) You are the best mom.

  2. Carolina (@braziliancakes)6:12 AM

    Thank you for being in mommyblogger mode sometimes. I really enjoy reading these because it shows me that even someone with a successful career can take time to hang out with family. I know you write about this often, but these posts in particular resonate really nicely. Thanks for teaching me what an okapi is.

  3. I love your mommyblogger mode! :D

  4. We love taking Baguette to the zoo. Right now our favorite is the Santa Barbara Zoo--it's just the right size for her (and us). And it's amazing how well she remembers it. On one trip this summer, she practically flipped out of my arms, yelled, "Elephants!" and ran all the way to the elephant enclosure, without a single wrong turn. She hadn't been there in months, and she remembered how to get exactly where she wanted to go.

  5. Alexicographer7:24 PM

    This sounds grand! Thank you for sharing. We have a state zoo that is great for the animals (spacious ranges/enclosures) and that can be challenging to visit with children (small ones, especially) -- LOTS of walking, and animals not always visible (polar bear butts, indeed) -- but that we nonetheless enjoy. Every time we go -- it's about a 2 hour drive -- I buy a family membership because if you go twice in one year, it pays for itself, plus, support the zoo! But what with the 2 hour drive (each way) I don't necessarily get back, alas. This year, however, we have (already) gotten the membership value out of the card, and it's still got about 8 months on it, so we are doing well.

  6. Thanks all! I'm glad you like the mommy blogging posts. Perhaps I will write more of them.

  7. Anonymous8:25 AM

    The San Diego Zoo is awesome. I can imagine slipping into mommy blogger mode because of a visit there--the last time we visited, I was sorry I didn't have a small urchin in tow to see their delight and fun.


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