July 11, 2008

The Zoo

When we moved to the Midwest three years ago, I had to say good-bye to my weekly trips with girlfriends to the beach. We had a set date, time, and place we would all meet with our troops, towels, and coolers. The van doors would open and the three of us would just laugh and soak up the sun until late in the afternoon.

Oh, I loved it. On a bad day I would yell out to the kids, "Put your suits on!" I'd grab the beach bag and we would be on our way. Life is easier while sitting in the sand. The roaring waves drown out the bickering of the kids. Definite bonus.

What to do when stressed in the middle of the Rust Belt? Seth started his new job and I took the kids to the zoo. The zoo can't hold a candle to the Gulf Coast. The only thing the beach and zoo have in common is that they are unpleasant places to be 'in season'. Crowds stink.

I bought a wagon on the way there and a family membership once we arrived. That first trip was a little stressful because I didn't realize that the wagon was 'assembly required'. I had no hammer for mounting the wheels so I pulled Ella's prosthetic leg off and used that. Imagine the stares I got in the zoo parking lot using a leg to bang down wheels on a wagon. Who brings an unassembled wagon to the zoo, anyway?

The same kind of lady who brings five children to the zoo by herself.

Today is Salomae's fourth birthday (I'll do a birthday post later). Our plans for the day changed. I hate changing plans on the kids because they just. don't. understand. They usually blame me. So last night I just didn't tell Sal that the plans had changed. Then, she prayed and told God that "'kumorrow' see elephants, cake, ice cream...happybirthdaytoyou." I knew that I would have to brave the zoo on my own.

I brought the double jogger and the sling. We packed a lunch, got the camera, and pulled out of the driveway. Then pulled back in so that Everett and Sally could go potty. Then had to pump up the tires on the stroller. Then we were off. I was already tired.

The kiddos really are good or I wouldn't dare to do the zoo. They really were excited or I wouldn't do it either. Before we left, Sally kept chanting, "See the elephants!" I knew that deciding to go was the right decision. She is the princess today, after all.

Don't be deceived, that's just a picture of an elephant.

We saw the elephants, then added other animals as my the kid's energy level allowed. We managed 3 hours of zoo-filled fun. By the time we left, I had two kids in the stroller and Josiah in the sling. I was 'dewy' when we made it to the van. In my saturated state, I noticed how many people were gaping at us. The kids are oblivious, but I'm not. I generally just smile. One lady approached me and said, "That's a lot of kids, are you by yourself?"

I said, "Why? Are you trying to find someone to help you with your unruly child?"

Only kidding.

I said, "Yep. All five are mine, I'm used to being alone with them. They are pretty good or we wouldn't be here." I smiled. Because that is the kind and appropriate thing to do.

Then she said, "That sure is a lot of kids for one mom."

I smiled again at her and wondered if she plans on encouraging her husband to marry a second wife when their family grows. So she can have some help. I'm pretty sure polygamy is illegal, right? Probably should have told her that.

Jojo and I in all of our sweaty glory.
The rest of the clan obviously enjoying our last few minutes at the zoo. Don't the three littles look like I FORCED them to come on this excursion?


Karen said...

Apryl - you are so cute! Love your posts and love your great big beautiful family. with love - Karen Wistrom

E said...

Hey, I think you look great in all your sweaty glory!

I see the looks, too. People are trying to "solve" the problem they see when they look at us. Even Abel's doctor had me give him the rundown. It was like, "Duh! Do you really think my insurance would be paying for him to see a specialist if he weren't mine?!" But, the icing on the cake was the doctor's clear belief that I was there without my husband's knowledge (for a circumcision consult!).

You have a beautiful family and I feel very sheepish for being overwhelmed by two kids sometimes. :)


small world said...

What a crack up! You and I would get along just great if we lived in the same town. I blogged on the number of kids I have and the response from others. The post is called, "Let the Heavens Rejoice". You "GET"it! Too bad most of the other people don't!
They really don't know the joy they are missing!

Jori said...

You are the bravest mommy i know!! :):) Well, at least the funnest! I so wish we lived close, I would love to get the looks with you! Kids are the best blessings!!