May 16, 2010

A day with Jakey

This weekend Grayson, Nathaniel and Nicholas have been out of town on a Cub Scout campout, so Jakey and I have had the place to ourselves. The city has been our oyster.

Yesterday I decided that I'd take him to do some things we haven't done in a long time, things he wouldn't remember having done at all. I thought it would be an excellent way to do some special things together, and I wanted to make them things that we don't do all the time. We started off at the zoo yesterday morning.

I don't know if you can tell, but I was wearing pigtails. It was over 90 degrees, and I make no apologies for wearing the hairstyle of a third-grader in order to try to stay cooler.

After stopping at the koi pond/macaw exhibit, we headed down to the sea lion pool, which was my sister's and my favorite attraction when we were little. Jakey was more interested in buckling and unbuckling his stroller harness at first.

Eventually, though, the swimming sea lions caught his eye.

We weren't there at show time, but they were still pretty active and fun to watch for several minutes.

After that we meandered along the path and saw the new kangaroo exhibit, then moved into the Lorikeet habitat. You can go all the way in and sit on benches. These little guys will hop right on your finger or arm.

Jakey loved seeing them, especially when I wasn't looking and one flew across the habitat and landed on my back. We stayed there for at least 20 minutes because he was enjoying it so much!

Afterward, as we crossed the zoo property, we had to stop for the train to go by. Jake yelled, "Choo-choo!" as it passed us.

Just over the train tracks was the flamingo exhibit. Jakey was fascinated, especially because they were VERY vocal yesterday. Someone said maybe it's mating season or something, because they were ridiculously loud!

They kept doing this kind of synchronized dance back and forth across the grass ... it cracked me up. 

They're really beautiful animals ...

I'm always conflicted when I go to the zoo because I don't like looking at animals through the bars and fences.

And that, in turn, makes me think about how THEY must feel, being trapped behind them.

The monkeys, in particular, make me sad behind their thick plate-glass windows. But they usually seem to be in fine spirits. Yesterday these two were being really playful in their habitat.

The ring-tailed lemurs were curled up together. Trivia: I spent a lot of time in the primate building when I was in college ... I was a sociology minor, and I had to observe the orangutans ("orangs," we called them), lemurs, gorillas, babboons and spider monkeys for various assignments.

We made it all the way through the primates before Jakey got hungry for lunch. Then we went to the Kudzoo Cafe to eat. Jake got chicken fingers, which he carefully dissected into bit-sized pieces before eating.

Apparently they dip better that way.

He talked to me a good bit while we ate. As usual, I could only make out about every third word, but he was adorable. I think he was really enjoying the zoo.

He also giggled a lot and rubbed his hands in his hair. Hence, the crumbs.

It was a really sweet, enjoyable lunch with my baby. It reminded me a lot of when Nathaniel was young and I had a lot of alone time with Nathaniel because Grayson traveled so much for work. In many ways, it's easier to have more children because they help us take care of him and shower him with extra attention. But in some ways, it's nice to have just one every once in a while, because you get to focus on them fully and completely. This one doesn't experience that very often!

The Kudzoo Cafe is right next door to the carousel, and he asked to do that when we walked back outside. He chose a lion to ride.

Even though it hadn't started yet, be grabbed onto the pole as he settled into his saddle.

When the bell rang, signaling that it was about to begin, he grabbed it so tightly with both hands that his little fingertips turned white.

But he quickly got comfortable and grinned the whole time.

He waved to all the strangers on the sidelines as if he were Mr. America or something. That was totally unprompted by me, and it cracked me up.

After we finished the first ride, he fussed to do it again, which was fine with me. This time he chose a deer or something.

While the lion hadn't gone up and down, this one he chose specifically because IT DID. He wanted to go up and down very badly.

Again, he waved to the poor non-Carousel-riding losers on the sidelines. It was as though he was greeting his adoring fans.

Drunk on chicken fingers and imaginary royal power:

The last thing we did was visit the Alabama Woodlands section, where we saw all sorts of animals from around our area. These turkeys had some new chicks!

Jake was a huge fan of the "horsies."

And I thought it was really cute that this sheared sheep was cleaning all the chips off of the fluffy sheep.

I'm sure if Jakey had been covered in cedar shavings, he would have expected one of his fans from the carousel to have cleaned him up, as well.

We were at the zoo for about three-and-a-half hours, and Jake loved everything about it! We'll definitely go back soon.

I took him home for a nap, and then when he woke up we went to Panera for supper, followed by a visit to the park, then to Bruster's Ice Cream at 7:30 for a scoop before bed. It was a long day packed full of activities, but it was a lot of fun for both of us. Yea for a day with Jakey!


Patrice said...

i'm so happy y'all got such a great day together. looks like you had an awesome time. can't wait for the beach. i'm gonna kiss those smooshy cheeks till the cows come home.

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

His cheeks melt like butter in your mouth. No lie.

Laura and family said...

I've worried about spending alone time with Claire as she grows older, since Gabe is so close in age to her. I'm glad to know it is still possible... looks like you had a great day!

P.S. When you're a mom, you can do your hair any darn way you please! :)

Sarah T. said...

He is to die for!

Seriously, just looking at that picture of the seal exhibit brings back that smell.

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