We had such a fun day today. I woke up early and got a sudden inspiration: today would be a perfect day to take the kidlets to the zoo. We hadn't been in a couple of years, mainly because it costs money and is a bit of a drive. The kids have been studying animals so much lately that I knew they would enjoy it (and I could consider it part of our home-schooling activities). It's funny--on big things, I tend to obsess and research and think about them for ages before coming to a conclusion. On little things, especially ideas for something fun, I tend to leap into spontaneous actions, and get really frustrated if there are any obstacles, even when I know I am being unreasonable.
I was excited about the idea of the zoo, and impatient to get started. Joel and Elena woke up first, and Joel asked to make muffins for breakfast. As I've mentioned before, the sweetlings get involved with just about every meal. I know that it would be more efficient to do it myself, but I work at having patience. Joelito was in that same boat today. He decided to make special whole-wheat cherry banana muffins, but Elena insisted on helping. They mashed the bananas together, he sweetly helped her as she measured all the ingredients and then tried to mix them (thankfully, the random amounts that spilled out of the bowl didn't negatively affect the taste of the muffins!). He was able to help her without too much thwarting of her burgeoning independence, and they were pronounced yummy by all.
Then all three jumped in the van and the older two buckled themselves up and waited. Elena, however, was completely naked, and it took a few minutes to get her clothed. I grabbed drinks and snacks, and we took off. Once we arrived, we experienced more tempo disparity. Joel wanted to go straight to the crocodiles, and got more and more impatient at the other exhibits. Ariana loved to linger and read the info for each animal. Elena does not particularly like her stroller, so unless we were going fast, she tried to climb out. I was reminded several times by the kidlets that my legs are longer than theirs and that it is harder for them to keep up. In the back of my mind, I had the idea that we needed to get out money's worth by seeing the whole thing and had to fight the temptation to go through parts just so that we could say we had done it.
With several deep breaths and frequent internal reminders that all we were there to do was to have fun, we managed to enjoy the day tremendously. The kids spent far more time than I would have admiring the little yellow goslings. Ariana got to see the king snakes, copperheads and rattlesnakes. We had a fun time at the petting zoo (Elena was disappointed that she didn't get to spend more time with the sheep, although whenever one made a noise or moved she jumped and stepped back). Lunch was good and followed by lots of time at the playground.
We were there about three and a half hours, and I could tell that we were all reaching the saturation point, even though there were tons of animals and things that we hadn't gone through yet. Joel was bitterly disappointed to find out the the croc exhibit was temporarily closed. However, there was balm in Gilead--as we wearily made our way to the exit, we paused for a ride on the carousel. Joel rode on a crocodile, much to his delight; Ariana found a rhino, and Elena, who absolutely adores merry-go-rounds, was thrilled with her horsie.
All in all, it was a wonderful day. It got me to thinking, though, about how often we want to either speed things up or slow them down and how much energy and time that wastes. "Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God," ~ Jim Elliot