Two days ago The Chief looked at me and cocked his head to the side,
"Mom. We have a party and then the baby comes out?"
"Um, sure. Yeah," I replied, trying to understand the context.
Then he cocked his head to the other side and said,
Except, his "weird" is actually more like "weed."
I wasn't sure what exactly he was talking about, but I started to think about this concept of Party then Baby.
Party then Baby.
I have only had a few contractions, I feel good, I feel like partying.
So today, we went to the zoo. Chup with his camera, The Chief with his light saber, Ever with her hand-me-down puffy jacket, and me with my ten month plus pregnant body.
The zoo is in Salt Lake City. We live about forty five minutes south. Even though we prepared for the drive with movies, we ended up hearing about robots and rockets all the way up thanks to our son who has his head in space most of the time. He kept asking if there were rockets at the zoo.
"No rockets," answered Chup "but there is a train."
"There are rockets on the train?"
"No rockets at the zoo. Not on the train. Not anywhere."
The zoo will not have rockets, Sam I Am.
Ever continued to interrupt the intergalactic conversation with pleas,
which I handed to her over my head, behind my seat.
By the time we arrived Ever had eaten most of the allotted snacks and we had failed to assure The Chief that the zoo had nothing to do with Mars.
But we arrived in good spirits.
First the monkeys, then the elephants and down to reptiles.
I started to notice that my children were only mildly entertained by these organisms. We had seen them on tv, in our books and on the iPad, but never in real life. And yet, the real life version didn't seem to tantalize like I thought they would.
But the giraffes.
The giraffes never fail to impress. So we headed down the path towards their lair (lair? habitat? really tall household? I need to Google...) and as we turned the corner, the sun slipped behind a huge tree and we caught a glimpse of the most majestic, rust-colored, giraffe I've ever seen. The specimen was practically glowing with exotica. The view took my breath away.
I looked at my children,
"Look. Look! Oh look!" I said like I was a character in the See Jane Run series.
But I turned to see that The Chief had discovered the equally tall chain linked fence surrounding the animal instead. And just as I was impressed with the giraffe The Chief was mind-blown by the fence and started to climb it.
"Can you see the giraffe?" I asked him as he fixed his Converse in foot holes.
"Look at the giraffe," I replied.
"Mom. Yeah. Lookame. I'm climbing!"
"Just like his father," I mumbled underneath my breath.
Before he could get too high Chup pulled him off and we went in search of the tiger.
Surely the tiger.
The tiger's spot was decorated with pumpkins and in the middle of the patch was one gorgeous, intimidating tiger lying about like a siren on a painter's couch.
"Tiger! Tiger, Ever! Can you see the tiger?"
Of course she could, we were only feet away, Ever safely in her stroller seat.
But next to Ever was a family who had stopped for a snack break. One child was eating a granola bar, the other slurping a sippy cup.
"SNAAAACK!" squealed Ever, her eyes fixated on all that chewing and swallowing.
"The tiger!" I tried again.
But Ever was not having it.
At that point I wondered, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
I thought about my sister Page's children, how they love animals. The house is practically a free petting zoo. Snakes, dogs, cats, turtles, fish, bearded dragons. Her children love animals. They also take horse riding lessons and have a pony. I remember going to the zoo a couple years ago with her children and watched them spellbound as we moved from animal to animal.
My children? Meh.
We spent more time watching a front end-loader scoop and dump dirt at the construction site next to the elephant exhibit than we did at any other spot at the zoo. And the climax of the day for The Chief was seeing the gigantic metal ball constructed for the monkeys.
"LOOK AT THAT BALL! IT'S HUGE!" He screamed. Never mind the hilarious monkey business going on inside that ball.
And Ever's favorite part of the day was finding some left-over Halloween candy in the stroller's pockets.
Then I looked at Chup, he was fixated on his camera and getting pictures. And I spent more time thinking about what we could eat after the zoo than about the animal intrigue. And it made sense.
Page loves animals and she passed that on to her children.
Chup loves gadgets, machines and things that go and he passed that on to The Chief.
I love food and I passed that on to my Ever.
And so it goes.
After the zoo we warmed up at our favorite downtown German eatery Siegfield's. Over a hot plate of spatzel and drink Ever blossomed right up.
And I caught The Chief prowling around in the booth we were sitting in, completely enraptured in some imaginary world.
"Are you . . . a . . . tiger?" I ventured to guess, though I sincerely doubted my son would play pretend about the animal kingdom. I could only hope our day at the zoo opened some door into my son's interests.
Then he turned his head towards me in a mechanical gesture. His eyes blinked slowly.
"Oh I get it," I said to him. "You're a robot tiger."
"Yes" he replied in his robot voice and resumed prowling.
I didn't say what I was thinking,
One party down . . .