If Plan A doesn’t work, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet.
Kaia is in preschool Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this year, so I really want to do my best to schedule fun things on Tuesday and Thursday and give her all of my attention. My plan Thursday was to hurry up and get to the zoo so we could have a solid 1-2 hours to wander around and be home for lunch before her 12:30pm nap time. Getting out the door in the morning went pretty much as usual. I don’t think I need to go into too much detail since I’m living the same dream as the vast majority of my followers, so I’ll just throw out some key words to trigger the wonderful memories: shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush hair, brush teeth; find shoes, sunblock, water bottles, snacks, keys, phone and a preschooler playing the helpless routine while chattering, whining, or crying endlessly. Tired, yet?
Kaia had been asking to go to the zoo all week and fortunately, the weather was even nicer than expected. We finally got out the door with everything we needed. It only takes about 10 minutes to get to the zoo, but we didn’t even make it 3 minutes before I realized the clouds were way too beautiful to pass by one of my favorite hills on the west side of town. Kaia agreed to the quick stop and danced happily on the hilltop while I captured her busy silhouette with the impressive sky behind her.
I couldn’t believe how few people there were at Sunset Zoo on such a gorgeous late August morning. It was about 80 degrees, no humidity, and a plentiful breeze. Kaia was very patient as I indulged myself taking pictures of the chimpanzee exhibit, but every animal after that seemed to be on a very short timer with no apparent reason other than to make sure I didn’t get too comfortable again. Of course, I was carrying around a very heavy camera while dragging a wagon behind me and chasing after a 3 year old, so comfort was never really a part of the equation.
After a while, I could tell Kaia was getting tired and proceeded with Plan A. Let’s get this kid home, fed, and into bed.
“Mommy, I want to go to the playground!” came out in a near squeal as she darted in the direction of the flamingos right next to the swings.
I really wanted to get her home in order to keep nap time consistent (trust me, her preschool teacher appreciates when I pick this battle), but it was just too nice out and she was being too darn cute!
There are three big milestones that I’ve decided make parenting sooo much easier:
1) When a child becomes bribeable.
2) When a child learns to swing all by herself.
3) When a child discovers the joy of reading quietly to himself.
Kaia recently figured out number two. She still wanted me to push her higher and even with my expensive and cumbersome camera weighing me down, I couldn’t say no when she started giggling uncontrollably.
About 20 minutes later, Kaia had her fill of the playground and we again headed toward the entrance. I don’t think we made it 50 steps before my little girl wandered off the path and stepped into a big, muddy puddle where a sprinkler head appears to have been struggling. I knew she was getting tired and half expected her to fall apart, but she thought that was hilarious and made sure both of her shoes were thoroughly soaked before I could intervene.
Plan A was really starting to look grim, and when Kaia spotted a much bigger puddle, I figured if I was in for a penny…I’ve got my zoom lens, let’s go with the pound. I still kind of felt badly for not letting her splash in the puddles with her friends last week and that smile just melts my heart.
Nap time was a little shorter than usual, but these are the kinds of moments that money can’t buy and the kinds of battles that just shouldn’t be fought on such a perfectly beautiful day. I have to say, I’m really glad I went with Plan B.