Friday, August 14, 2009

The zoo trip that almost wasn't.

Wow, thanks for all the suggestions on my last post. I've tried a few of those things, but I'm looking forward to trying more. You guys are great!


The kids and I spent today at the zoo, but we almost didn't. This morning I got everything packed up, loaded everyone into the van, and it started pouring down rain. They started freaking out immediately as they were insanely excited about the zoo. I had some errands to run, so we went to do those things first hoping the rain would stop, and after an hour or so, and thankfully it did. Even if it hadn't, though, we would have had to go anyway. Ava was planning our route so that we would always be under trees to keep dry. She said there was no way we weren't going to the zoo today.

The weather was perfect when we got to the zoo. The tiniest sprinkle, which actually felt good. Breezy and overcast, which I love for days out in the summer down here.

Problem was, our zoo trip almost wasn't.

When we got up to the window, I handed the zoo employee (cashier? cast member? I don't know) our pass, which was to a different zoo that has always partnered with this one. We've used it a ton of times.

Is that enough foreshadowing for you? Yeah, the pass didn't work this time. I guess everything was revised in June. The lady looked it up, then told me the price per person for each of us to get in, and it just wan't doable for us today. I froze, almost cried, and then I thanked her and backed out of the line, a little mortified. On the one hand, who can't afford to take their kids to the zoo? On the other, our zoo is expensive, and to pay for the kids and I would have been fifty bucks. On the other other hand, the kids haven't gotten to do very many fun things lately. And we'd driven kind of far. In traffic. But I knew we couldn't spend the extra money.

I don't think Jace really got what was going on, so he came right with me without a fuss. But Ava lost it. Very quietly, she said "no." and froze. Less than ten feet away from the window. In sight of about a million people. No matter what I said, she would not come with me.

I felt terrible... I totally understood where she was coming from. She'd been looking forward to the zoo for days, had been geeking out about it all morning, she asked me specifically as we left the house if I had remembered the passes, and she was suddenly being told no, never mind, we're going home. It was too much for her to deal with, as she's a big planner. Plans going awry stress her out. Big time. Her brain basically exploded all over the sidewalk.

She wasn't throwing a tantrum, she was just frozen, saying no softly every time I asked her to come with us. I stood with her for about 5 minutes trying to calmly explain the situation in a way she could understand, and got nowhere with her. Just when I was about to give up and throw her over my shoulder, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was one of the zoo employees, and she was holding out tickets to us. She didn't say a word, just smiled and gestured for us to go inside.

Part of me wanted to turn them down since Ava had been disobedient, but we had driven 40 minutes, and it was very kind of the woman to go out of her way for us, so after a moment's hesitation we headed in. When we got about 15 feet into the zoo, Ava spun around without prompting and ran back to thank the woman who gave us the tickets. I had a talk with both of them about letting their brains explode in public. They said they'd try not to let that happen anymore.

So we were off. We meandered around our zoo at a snail's pace, stopping at every. single. animal and reading the boards about them. Ava and Jace were really into the animals, and Seth was really into looking around and climbing things when he got the chance. I think he liked the aquarium section best.

It was a fun, relaxing afternoon for the kids and me, and it could have gone bad so, so easily. So thank you, lady that works at the zoo! You rock!

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