It so almost didn't happen.
Baby Charleigh had me up until 4:30 AM, again, so I didn't roll out of bed until 10:30, when Clementine decided she was ready to dance and jump in the world. And Charleigh didn't wake up until an hour or so after that. Plus I had asked all of my facebook friends if they could join us, and no one had signed up to go. Plus I've been having some tummy issues. Plus Clementine threw up an entire sippy cup of red Kool-Aid, this morning, on the rug. Plus the groundhog said spring is on the way, so it didn't seem as pressing to soak up the nice weather.
The thing is: I don't think groundhogs look particularly trustworthy. Right? They just don't have the innocent expression of regular hogs. If a hog said that spring were on the way, I would believe him instantly. Maybe I've read Charlotte's Web too many times.
So, anyway, the girls and I loaded up in the van with the lunch I had packed for Cade last Thursday night, before he missed school on Friday. (He has been camped out on his dad's sofa since Sunday and was diagnosed with the flu on Monday. He will finally return to school tomorrow, but I have his lunchbox. Oops!) On the drive, I called my brother and left a voicemail saying I was off to see the monkeys, which made me think about his little face and miss him. This cheered me up a great deal because I realized I'm not too old to have lost the bratty sister part of myself.
I was a little bit nervous that I might have a bathroom emergency while we were at the zoo, or that Clementine might throw up, again, but neither of those things happened. What did happen is that Charleigh decided she didn't want to face backward in the back of the double stroller. After about fifteen minutes of her crying, I took her out of her infant seat and carried her in my left arm while struggling to push the double stroller (with Clementine in it) with my right. Somehow I managed to get us to the bear and tiger exhibits, but Clementine was too low to the ground to see the animals. So I let her out and decided to try Charleigh in Clementine's front seat, which has shoulder straps. Charleigh was instantly very happy to ride facing forward, like a big girl.
|Baby Charleigh, 5 Months Old|
So Clementine was without a seat in the stroller, but she was surprisingly well behaved...especially for Clementine! It brought me a lot of joy, actually, to see her trotting along the path like a little wild-haired pony, and she loved feeding the giraffes.
We did have one slightly scary moment when this thing's husband (I can't remember what kind of deer it is?) tried to butt Clementine through the fence:
I didn't get a picture of the angry husband because, hello!, I gasped, grabbed Clementine, and pulled her away from the fence. But had I read the sign before it charged at her, I would've known that the males get aggressive this time of year. Because of its aggression and interaction with the public, the husband's horns had been removed down to nubs by a supposedly painless procedure. You know that had to tick it off even more! Horns or no, it seemed like it could do some damage!
My very favorite moment at the zoo, today, was hearing an elk. I just looked up what an elk sound is called because what I heard wasn't a moo, a bleat, or a roar. It was by far the most beautiful animal sound I've ever heard. I had no idea that elk are musical...that their voices sound like trumpets. Gorgeous: I was stunned!
Elk sounds--as it turns out--are known as bugling. Here's what wikipedia has to say about it: "Bulls have a loud vocalization consisting of screams known as bugling, which can be heard for miles. Bugling is often associated with an adaptation to open environments such as parklands, meadows, and savannas, where sound can travel great distances. Females are attracted to the males that bugle more often and have the loudest call. Bugling is most common early and late in the day and is one of the most distinctive sounds in nature, akin to the howl of the gray wolf."
I get why female elk like that bugling stuff. I mean, that sound is flat-out sexy! I am definitely going back to visit that male elk. (No worries: I won't try to climb into the exhibit or anything!) I feel very sorry for avoiding the deer loop of the zoo, before, in favor of the more "exciting" animals. The last time I went to the zoo, I heard a lion roar, and--while that was fabulous--it sounded no different from the MGM lion's roar, which really just made me want to stop walking, pop some popcorn, and watch a movie. The elk sound kicked the lion sound's hind end!
My second favorite moment at the zoo, today, was getting reent-reer whistled at by a bird. Having dressed in my tightest blue jeans (since they were my only clean pair), I felt just great about the positive attention.
After riding the carousel, walking the zoo, and riding the train, Clementine's not-quite-two-year-old legs were just plumb worn out. That's when we had to get creative:
Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.
With my happy girls and lungs full of fresh air, I felt like a good and brave mommy today (which is rare). I'm glad we went to the zoo even though there were reasons to stay home. And I am excited to go back again and again, so please let me know when you'd like to join us...