So, I know I can be a bit… well, obsessed with the darker side of parenting here, but it’s the tough moments I need to sort out, work through and “confess” I suppose. A regular day or even a great day doesn’t need to be analyzed, just enjoyed. Today, I’m moved to make an exception.
Admittedly, Libby and I have had a hard time filling our days in ways we can agree upon. My once trusty side-kick isn’t so keen on my ideas lately and she knows that I can’t stand playing plastic, disproportionate people of any kind: Barbies, Dollhouse or Polly Pockets and she uses this against me. But this morning I asked her if she would like to go to the zoo – I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. Now, I didn’t really want to go to the zoo and her initial response was a wrinkled forehead and a frown as if I proposed a fun day of standing in line for a flu shot. But I wasn’t about to spend this lovely fall day feeling restless and isolated at home with her testing my devotion to her by waggling Barbies in front of my face with a well…is it good mom or bad mom today look on her face. With the slightest coaxing – one little, “aw, c’mon” she agreed.
Lo and behold, it was far and away the most enjoyable trip to the zoo ever. Not only did we practically have the place to ourselves where we could sit on the floor and be in awe of the Orangutan baby, and watch the tiger enjoying a meaty bone RIGHT in front of us, but the animals were up and moving and seemingly eager for our attention. One little monkey was clearing saying, “look what I can do, look what I can do.” Even the sloth of a sloth was awake and enthusiastic. We happily wandered around, unhurried and uncrabby taking the time to really watch the inhabitants and wonder about them together – mostly about family dynamics of the animal kingdom. We lingered in the lovely conservatory ablaze with yellow, red and orange mums. Libby frolicked around the sun-filled, bursting-with-smells garden pretending it was her personal castle garden and she was, what else, the princess. I sat on a royal bench and truly enjoyed being in her imaginary world (sans dolls and her domineering brother). We even caught a little story time reenactment of the Three Little Pigs from the misunderstood wolf’s point of view on our way out. It was nothing short of ideal.
And here’s the thing I love about Libby, as we walked back to the car hand-in-hand, she said how she was so glad we went to the zoo even though she didn’t think she wanted to at first. I think we both felt a little enchanted by the whole thing and it was heart warming to know that she, and maybe even that sloth on some level knew it was special.