Monday, August 31, 2009
(If you haven't read part one or two, feel free to catch yourself up... )
This is what I love about the way that my (and maybe yours?) memory works. Its been a few weeks since our trip, and looking back on it, I'm having a hard time remembering anything negative (I'm sure it will come back as I get to typing). I remember the uncomfortable and heavy heat that lingered in the air, partially because it was a rain forest, but mostly because we were stuffed like sardines onto a long winding path that seemed to go on forever, shoulder to shoulder with other Mom's and Dad's trying to heard their children, which seemed to make the awkward invasions of personal space OK.
Eleanore was anxious to see everything all at once, the plants, the animals, the cute little girl that she had met on the elevator that she swore was her new best friend, they were all so exciting. Charlie, was working hard at keeping himself out of the stroller, why would he want to sit way down there, when he could be way up here?! With our arms full, and our brains already so close to over stimulation, we inched our way down the muggy path and took in everything that the zoo had to offer.
Our first big stop, was to watch the Otters play. There had been a few little areas of interest along the way, maybe some monkeys, maybe some turtles (because there seemed to be both monkeys and turtles every 5 feet), but the Otters were a big splash with the kids.
...heh, get it? Big splash.
*hangs head in shame* Its Monday, can you tell?
The kids smooshed their faces against the glass, "oooh"ing and "ahhh"ing over the cute little creatures that were jumping and showing off for them on the other side. The otter really were cute though, even I (when I found 5 seconds to look up and focus on what we had even stopped to see) found myself tilting my head off to one side and letting out a little whimper of delight. I let the bazillions of germs that were invisibly smeared across the glass go, and watched my babies eyes light up as their imaginations kicked in.
And then there was this guy.
The family ahead of us had stopped to get a family portrait on this rock bench, so I had to be a copy cat and try the same. Only, by this point on the path, Charlie was exhausted and the second that we set him down onto the stone he buried his face into his sisters shoulder and opened the flood gates. We didn't even attempt another shot, we just scooped him up, and carried on.
Hey, the stroller did come in handy after all.
While Charlie napped away in his stroller, Eleanore got to soak up all of our attention on high. Towards the end of the adventure, we came up to a great big giant waterfall. You'd think that she would have been in awe, but instead...
"Its too noisy!", she yelled, as Daddy picked her up and tried to tickle out a smile. She held her hands over her ears until he set her down on the ground. Apparently when you're up in the air, everything is twice as loud.
"Come take a picture by the waterfall with Mommy! Come with me Elie, come see it!" I begged. I handed Daddy the camera, grabbed her by the hand, and yanked her over to an open space by the bamboo fence. Nicely though, nicely. I yanked nicely.
"NOOO!! Its too noisy!!!", she yelled back.
"Elie, look, look at the pretty waterfall! And smile at Daddy!"
She wasn't having it. I don't blame her though, really. We were trying to compact as much one on one time with her as possible, before brother woke up and we'd have to go back to our one child per parent ratio. We were overwhelming her, it was kind of loud, she was right, and she was tired. No picture with Mommy. That's okay. I'll live.
Also hanging out down by the waterfall, was this guy.
Clearly, we both shop at Target.
Rather than finishing off the journey the way that it was meant to be, by going straight from the waterfall down into the aquarium cave, we had to take a detour. I had previously promised Eleanore, about 20 minutes before, that we'd go into the gift shop. I said it in attempts to avoid a tantrum, and it had worked, I had postponed it. She had seen the toys and money suckers from the path above, looking over the railing and screaming "but there are toys down there!". In order to keep her moving, I told her we were on our way to pick out her birthday present. Dangit. I would say that, wouldn't I? Well to be fair, we had planned on letting her pick out her birthday gift there when the time came, I just wish I would have kept my mouth shut so that we could have finished our walk through, and then handed over the remaining bits of our vacation cash.
While in the gift shop, we reunited with Charlotte and her parents, who looked like they were ready to call it a day. Red faces, tired eyes... I could relate. I asked (told really) Christopher to take the kids to go sit down with them, and I'd shop. Mostly because I couldn't keep up with Eleanore grabbing everything and throwing it around saying "LOOK AT THIS MOMMY!" for another second. Once my distractions (family) were gone, I was overwhelmed with the most disgusting smell. At first I thought it was maybe just in my local standing area, so I moved across the room, gasping for air. No relief. The place smelt like diarrhea. Seriously, could this day get any better? Well, at least I didn't have diarrhea, right? And neither did my kids. It was probably the penguins (weird, right? Real live penguins, splashing around in a gift shop? Kinda messed up, I thought), who were in the gift shop. At one point, I remember smelling my hands, wondering "is that me?!". I picked out an eagle ray plushie for Charlie, and started breathing through that. There was no other way.
After a small treasure chest of money was pried from our pockets and traded for the overpriced toys (can you tell I'm cheap?), it was time to back track and go against the traffic, and go into the cave. Um, FAIL. The kids were done. DONE done. So past done, that... ugh, just done. Both kids were screaming, both kids wanted to be held. DONE.
We had to skip the cave, and head straight into the shark tank. And again, why did we bring the stroller? You want a workout? Take two kids to the Dallas Aquarium, you'll get one hell of a workout.
But in the end, it was worth it.
The shark tank, was, amazing. It was a long glass tunnel that you walk through, the sharks swimming above you, to the right of you, to the left at you, all around you. It looked like they were swimming directly at your face. So beautiful (and at times, scary ("please tunnel, please don't break and come crashing down on me")). The tunnel was lined with cement benches, and after awhile of waiting, very impatiently might I add, we found an open spot along the path, and sat down. I wish we could have spent more time watching them swim, but the kids made it very clear to us when it was time to leave.
On the way out there were pink flamingos, people painted up and dressed as birds, fish fish fish and more fish, a giant sea turtle bigger than our house... but we didn't have time to stop for any of that. We were all far too exhausted, and just pushed through it. By then, "get us out of here", was all we could think.
"Goodbye owls", we said, on our way out the door. They seemed to be looking directly at us, with a bit of of "tell me about it" in their eyes.
To be continued...
(yes, theres more)