Five Fridays of Fun – The Zoo

This year for Father’s day, rather than get me one gift, Sara got me “Five Fridays of Fun”. Every Friday we would select a random box and open it, and it would give us materials and instructions on what to do for the day.

I had absolutely no idea what sorts of things were in these boxes, or even a ballpark estimate of what to expect. So on the first Friday of Fun we opened the box and saw:

The things in this box are a clue
as to what you might see and do.
Pack your lunch and bring it too
so you can enjoy a day at the…
…………(can you guess?)……….

I can’t remember exactly what was in the box, other than some animal crackers to take with us as a snack.

Evie in particular was very, very excited to open them up each week. Sometimes I was a little nervous, because I didn’t necessarily feel like embarking on some big adventure for the day. However, it always turned out great! It’s hard to explain, but here’s just something about having it all prepared with instructions that’s better than just thinking about it on your own. I would never just say, “Hey kids, lets just up and go to the zoo today.” It has to be a big thing that’s planned out in advance. But when the magic box says we have to go to the zoo, we go to the zoo. And then guess what? We have a great time! We probably should just up and do things like going to the zoo, and this was just the little nudge that we needed.

Also, it was a great gift because instead of just getting one thing, we had about a month and a half worth of enjoyment out of it. There was anticipation leading up to it, the actual doing of it, and then the retelling of everything to Sara later.

So for the rest of the week I will be presenting each of the Five Fridays of Fun, in the order we experienced them.

Gorilla No Threat Glasses

If you look a gorilla in the eye, the gorilla will take that as a threat. You do not want a gorilla to feel threatened by you. Therefore, you may want to keep a handy pair of Gorilla No-Threat glasses:

“Earlier this month at the Dutch Rotterdam Zoo, an eleven year old male gorilla named Bokito escaped and ran rampant through the Zoo’s food court, injuring a woman when he bit and dragged her some distance. Now, health insurance company FBTO is distributing eye-contact disguising glasses that allow zoo visitors to stare all they like, a behavior that is threatening to most of the great apes.”

Am I the only one that thinks these would be useful in other places besides the zoo (much like the pain cave from yesterday is useful in a variety of circumstances)? Some cultures consider direct eye contact inappropriate. Some cultures consider sleeping during business meetings or lectures inappropriate. And some cultures even consider ogling bikini babes inappropriate. Bikini babes who might feel threatened by your ogling and might be inclined to rip your face off, much like a gorilla. “No, no!” you’d shout, “I’m just staring off into space idly. Something up and to the left caught my eye. No threat! No threat!”

Gorilla No-Threat Glasses…saving lives.

Closer and closer to Halloween

On Friday, Evie and I tried our most ambitious baking experiment yet: a pumpkin roll.

Pumpkin roll is easily in my top 2 deserts all time. I could probably eat one by myself, in a sitting, if I had to. But this is the first time I ever tried to make one. People kind of talk it up like it is hard, so I was a little worried, but honestly it wasn’t really that much trouble. And it was deeeelicious (even though half of it was eaten by a bunch of barbarians).

On Saturday we hit up the Halloween thing at the Lincoln Park Zoo, where we are members. It was a cold, wet, miserable day like you wouldn’t believe. The kind of day where nobody should be outside, everyone should be inside, under blankets, with something warm to drink. So traipsing around the zoo wasn’t really the greatest idea. Especially since Evie couldn’t wear her coat, because that would have ruined her awesome bat costume. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but most of the indoor enclosures were closed for the day, meaning we couldn’t get out of the elements. Luckily the bat enclosure wasn’t closed, so we were able to get some pictures of Evie in her bat costume looking at the actual bats. We did not stick around for the music or trick-or-treating, but Evie did ride on the carousel, so she was happy.

Finally, on Sunday we carved pumpkins. Readers of this blog will not be surprised that Evie requested that her pumpkin be crying, with tears running down its face. That being said, I am quite proud of the way hers turned out, very sad looking. Evie was a good model, fake crying for me whenever I needed it, to get the look right. She wanted my pumpkin to be angry / scary and Sara’s to be happy. She helped do hers, but got bored long before everything was done. That’s okay, I had fun doing it. Plus I have a bunch of roasted pumpkin seeds to eat now!

One last thing to mention about the weekend, I opened my first jar of pickles! They were very good. If I had been given that jar by my grandma, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it. But, since I was the one actually making them, I was maybe a little over critical of them. They were a little vinegary and a little salty. Still, all in all, not too shabby for my first time out!

The Zoo

On Saturday, we met a friend from college and went to the zoo. Going into it, Evie had some pretty high expectations: she wanted a lion to “roar at her” and to have a monkey “give her a stick”. 50% of those expectations were met.

The highlight of the trip for Evie was riding on the carousel, seeing the monkeys, and seeing a llama “pee-pee and poo-poo outside”. She was a little frightened on her first trip on the carousel, but by the 3rd rotation or so, she was loving it. “More music!” she demanded when the ride was stopping. She wanted to go right back on as soon as it stopped, but we did some other stuff and then came back. As we were nearing the carousel she was straining ahead so hard and bouncing with excitement, I was afraid she would hurt herself! As for the monkeys, I knew she was enjoying them at the time, but I didn’t realize how much until she was recounting to us what she had seen and every other thing was “More monkeys!” Like, “Monkeys, a lion, more monkeys, a carousel, more monkeys, etc.” As for Sara and I, we were just thrilled that a gorilla was sitting just a few feet away obviously enjoying a big piece of broccoli. Looks like we have a good tool to use to get her to eat her broccoli!

Now, the highlight of the zoo for me was the lion exhibit. Normally the lions just sit around doing nothing. You could easily replace them with a fake lion or at least an animatronic one and nobody would even notice. Well, not this time! As we watched, the male lion picked a fight with a female lion including rolling around on the ground and roaring.  It was AWESOME! And Evie didn’t seem to care much, even though roaring was something she specifically wanted to see. She was more interested in sitting on a bench. I guess she’s not old enough to realize that seeing lions fighting isn’t something you see everyday. The tiger was pretty rad too as he ran and jumped all around and trying to fish his toy out of the water. On a whole, way more active than I have ever seen these big cats.

As far as the potty training, it has been going great. We were pretty worried about the zoo, since we would be gone from the house for so long, but she had NO accidents. This even included us running from the monkey house and searching for a bathroom, and she held it the entire time. We were very impressed.

Since then, however, we seemed to suffer a setback. She just doesn’t want to go on the potty. She knows she has to go, she asks to go, but when she gets there and sees the potty, she changes her mind. This is repeated over and over because she knows she has to go, so she keeps asking to go. After a while of not going, she will have an accident. She really can’t help it, she just has to go so bad. I’m not sure what happened to cause this backlash of her not wanting to sit on the potty and therefore I don’t really know what to do about it. I’m hoping we can just get through until we pass this phase and then it will get better. Any suggestions?