Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Day at the Zoo

Yesterday, we went to the National Zoo during a visit with my dad, who was in for the weekend. He hadn't seen Munch since my sister's wedding over Memorial Day. At that time, Munch was still only taking a few tentative steps here and there. Now he's running all over, so it's a big change!

Munch has been to the zoo once before, on his 1st birthday. I didn't even process that it was his half birthday, so that pretty much solidifies a pattern and a tradition. He rode around in the stroller very well, eating Goldfish and just looking around. The weather was gorgeous, though a tad on the hot side as we said good-bye to summer with 85. He guzzled water every so often and seemed content. Lots of kids and babies were there, all in various states of enjoyment and outrage at their varied perceived injustices.

We got him out of the stroller to have him make a "handimal" -- put his handprint on a paper and a zoo employee paints it into an animal. We chose, of course, a monkey. This is where we shifted from content to obsessed--as soon as he was unleashed from the stroller, he wanted to push it. He screamed through his handprint, which I think under normal circumstances he'd enjoy, and then he pushed the stroller around and around in circles and then we inched along as Munch held his hand on the side as I pushed. That was nice--he clearly loved being "in control."

Hubs went with Dad and Patty into the pavilion to get us lunch, and I stayed out with Munch and the stroller. At first, he was content to push from the ground as usual, then he wanted me to hold him up at the bar and let him truly "push" the stroller. This is exhausting, to say the least. And, when Daddy arrived with the food, massive screaming ensued as we attempted to extricate Munch from his hold on the stroller.

So, off Daddy went to show Munch the vending machines and the cow at the kids' farm. After lunch, I tried in vain to get Munch to sleep, as he was then very past his naptime. Then, we had a minor victory as we wrestled him back into the stroller and got him to settle down to ride around again (usually, we never get past this step, as he refused to sit back down once he's out). And, after a bit more rolling, he finally slept for about 45 minutes.

Munch still wasn't terribly aware of the zoo animals. Once, when I thought he was smiling at two fat-bellied monkeys sitting on a ledge, I realized he was smiling at a hanging ball three feet to the right. I guess whatever floats your boat.

As a zoo experience, this was a good one, though. Among the highlights, we saw:
  • The male lion with his thick auburn mane resting in the shade
  • A swimming sea lion, among my favorites
  • A tortoise feeding demonstration, so the big boulder of a shell actually moved with the tortoise standing up and walking and extending his neck
  • A gorilla reclining back on the ground with his legs crossed up against the glass
All in all, a very good half birthday for Munch!

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