Tuesday, December 29, 2009

back to life

We arrived home this evening after a Christmas visit to my parents' home in Indiana. Martin had a good time. He opened Christmas presents. He read his new children's dictionary. He decorated cookies. He ate only applesauce and jelly bread for Christmas dinner. And he was nothing but sweet to my brother's new girlfriend. An all-around good visit. But even those must come to an end.

Because Martin's little sister is not inclined to road trips, we're always devising ways to break up car rides. Today we tried a stop at the Toledo Zoo. We knew all the possible ways such a detour could go wrong. We could drive into Toledo at the moment Sasha was drifting off for an afternoon nap. Martin could expect "his zoo" (aka the Akron Zoo) and go completely nuts when he realized things were different. Or the below-freezing temperatures could leave us all miserable and grasping for reassurance that we're not complete idiots for taking our kids out in this weather.

None of these things occurred. In fact, it was a wonderful visit. There were approximately 15 other patrons at the zoo. There were plenty of indoor exhibits, including a swimming hippo and some gibbons wrestling over celery. The sun was out and the wind was calm so we never felt too cold.

It took Martin a good 10 minutes to get on board with our plan to simply stroll from building to building. But once he was with us, he had a wonderful time. He stared at fish with neon markings. He watched the white lions. He tried on animal costumes in the science center. He even pushed his sister in a wagon. By the end of the visit, he was exhausted. His head tipped over in sleep a few minutes after we drove away.

We took Martin to the Pittsburgh Zoo in August 2008. He didn't have a very good time. And he couldn't tell us why. Today was not perfectly smooth, but Martin could tell us what he wanted. He enjoyed trying a few new things. Now we're home and back to real life and hoping that his new thing next week - school - can go just as well.

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