I've been playing part-time stay-at-home mom (PT SAHM) for 10 months now. And on those days when I have the kids all to myself, it still scares the bejeezus out of me. Especially when we don't have plans.
Summertime was awesome. Summertime was ripe with plans. There were vacations, day trips to my parents' house, swimming lessons followed by park visits and play dates galore. Now that the weather is cooling off and our swimming lesson time slot changed, I find myself winging it more often. Our library has story time at 10 a.m. on Mondays, and we have been hitting that more often. That was the plan yesterday morning. I was going to swing the car by Dobbs to put an end to the weekly low tire pressure light warning, and then we were going to scurry over to the library for story time with Miss Kathy.
After spending 45 minutes chasing the kiddos around tire displays while our car remained parked outside, I knew story time wasn't going to happen. But the rain, the rain was so happening, which ruled out the playground. So I started brainstorming and decided that yes, I could handled not only an impromptu zoo visit, but a solo zoo visit. As I loaded the kids into the car, I told Mary Clare that we had unfortunately missed story time, but fear not, we were going to the zoo. I got a big smile and an eyebrow raise. Score.
I didn't have a stroller in the car (better to leave all five strollers safe in the basement, I always say), so the first order of business was to rent a stroller. Easy enough. The rain started up again, so I gave the kids one umbrella and I used the other. Everyone stayed dry and everyone's eyes remained poke-free.
We missed out on the sea lions due to a pool cleaning, but it was still pretty cool seeing the keepers vacuum underwater in their scuba diving gear. We followed that up with some excellent ape action, some water fowl and a train ride. The stroller got soaked while we were on the train, but my scarf made short work of the puddles, and off we went to the carousel. By this time Charlie's eyes were glazing over and Mary Clare was getting sassy, so we headed to the Painted Giraffe for lunch.
[you promised me sea lions, woman]
[ga-ga for the gorilla after taking in some excellent ape antics]
[carousels are for chatting]
[the stroller stops for all photo ops]
Lunch had me really nervous, but the fact that the zoo wasn't crowded gave me hope. I toted Charlie through the lunch line with me, and somehow managed to keep an eye on Mary Clare and not spill our entire tray of food. As the kids snarfed down their lunch, I actually relaxed and started congratulating myself on a job well done. Not only had I managed a solo zoo trip (albeit, only a three-hour zoo trip), but I had managed a spontaneous solo zoo trip. And those who know me know that spontaneous is not a word often associated with yours truly.
While I was lost in my reverie of my PT SAHM success, Mary Clare knocked over her entire carton of milk. While I cleaned that up, Charlie poked himself in the eye with his spoon. Boom. Lunch over, everyone in the stroller, and I'll give you this rice krispie treat if you promise not to cry until we get to the car. And any fruit snacks I find once you're in the car.