Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's not such a zoo out there

Me: "Well, we're back from the zoo."

Jason: "So how was it?"

Me: "Actually, pretty enjoyable."

Jason: "Who did you go with?" (Implying in his question that it couldn't possibly have been with the kids if I was being remotely upbeat.)

This was the start of the conversation Jason and I had yesterday afternoon after the kids and I arrived home after five hours at the Cincinnati Zoo. Alone. Together. By myself with the animals (I'm talking about the elephants and giraffes here).

For anyone now shaking their heads and pitying our children for our sarcasm, please be reminded that the divorce rate among parents of multiples is at least double that of the general populace (without factoring in the stress of two older children to boot). The fact that we're going to the zoo, talking about the zoo, joking about the zoo should garner points for our disparaging ways. Like it or not, it works.

Ridiculing aside, our zoo adventure was a tangible lesson in the total shift we've undergone in the last year. The move from surviving to thriving. From just making it to actually enjoying it.

A year ago, a trip to the zoo with all four kids required another adult's help, patience not possessed by most people I know and much sleep and/or alcohol after returning home. It. Was. Exhausting. Grueling beyond the point of being anywhere near enjoyable.

Fast forward twelve months and the word "enjoyable" was the first that came to mind in describing my solo zoo mission with the quartet. Given the obvious facts that I'm a year older, pounds heavier and steps slower, the "enjoyable" outcome of our trip must be that my fellow zoo goers are becoming more manageable.

We strolled along, walking together. Everyone was able to see the things they wanted to see, and do the things they wanted to do. There existed a spirit of cooperation among them that doesn't usually surface within the confines of our house. They enjoyed each other's company and got along.

They were thrilled with the day out and learned elephant poop is big; goats are fun to feed; and "cockatoo" is fun to say. I was thrilled with the day out and learned Trace loves the zoo; I sometimes forget how fun our kids are; and a renewal of our zoo membership is a must.

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