"Most of the time," I agreed, "but you should see her when she has a meltdown! It's scary!"
Michelle was having a really good day. She was smiling and waving at strangers, running around laughing, chattering away and making excited little noises. If only every day were like that! I thought.
A few people have commented lately on what a happy baby she is and how good Michelle is. The thing is that they don't see her all the time. They're not there 24-7 like I am. They don't get to see her temper tantrums, the moments when she's a monster. Michelle is intense. Her joy and excitement is off the charts. The down side of it is that when she's displeased with something, when she's tired, when she doesn't get her way instantly etc, she can be a terror. Sometimes I get lucky and nothing displeases her. The Zoo turned out to be a perfect day.
If you read my Butterflies post then you know Michelle had been walking barefoot and couldn't seem to handle shoes. Luckily in a bag of clothes a friend had given me for Michelle there was a pair of little white shoes that now fit her perfectly. She was wobbly in them at first but after some practice (on the grass and the sand) was running around like a pro. A good thing too because I didn't want her bare foot on the gravel and she was too excited to stay in the stroller for long.
Michelle could barely contain herself. She was running around and pointing at everything as if to say "Wow! Look Mama! ZEBRAS! MONKEYS! BEARS!"
At the creature showcase she seemed as interested in staring at people in the audience as actually looking at the animals -- a tarantula, turtles, snakes, a baby alligator, a baby kangaroo and a baby bobcat. When I heard you could get your photo taken with the snakes and alligator afterward I was first in line! It's not every day you can have your picture taken next to a baby alligator (his jaw taped closed so you wouldn't lose any fingers!) or a boa constrictor. Michelle wasn't quite as enthused as I was. She didn't want to touch them when the handlers invited us to. She was like "Uh, no thanks. I'm good." She was even doing a nervous thing with her tongue. Come to think of it she kind of looks like a snake in this photo!
I couldn't wait for her to see the lions and tigers because she's always making roaring sounds "Grrr" every time she sees a tiger in a book or on TV or if you say the word tiger or lion. Of course like all cats they nap for most of the day. When we first got to the tiger cage he was sleeping and turned the opposite way. At least he rolled over so we could see his face. The male lion was awake but looked rather bored. So Michelle didn't get to hear any real life roaring though we did get to hear Katy Perry's new song "Roar" on the radio which was perfectly timed on our way to the zoo.
Michelle especially loved watching the monkeys running around and swinging back and forth. She was laughing her head off. Every time I tried to get a photo either she was blurry or the monkeys were or I got the back of her head (it was like trying to capture pictures of Michelle and the butterflies. An exercise in futility!) I finally wound up taking a bit of video of her watching the monkeys, that way I could capture her laughter too. I added some of the photos to it and put it on Youtube. Here is a link to the video, Michelle and Me at the Zoo:
The Twin Valley Zoo isn't quite as enormous as the Metro Zoo (which I'll take Michelle to when she's a little older) but I was still exhausted by the end of the day after walking around in the sun so much and carrying Michelle half the time. She was too excited to stay in the stroller so I let her walk on her own a bit but wound up carrying her a lot because when she's on the ground she just runs amok and doesn't usually go in the direction I want her to. Carrying a 20 lb baby (she must be that by now. Though she sometimes feels like 50 lbs!) up hill and in the sun was quite a workout. I was panting by the end of it. I was wishing I could ride in the stroller.
Michelle was fine with the real bears when we saw them but was a bit nervous of the bear statue. I couldn't resist getting a picture with it. Though she was reluctant at first she warmed up to it after the first photo and I even managed to get a smile for the second shot.
Everything is an adventure with Michelle. Of course I loved the zoo even before having a baby but now it's even more special. Seeing the world through her eyes makes it that much more amazing and magical. I love animals but Michelle is absolutely in awe of them. Her joy and excitement is infectious. I am so grateful to be able to share these experiences with her. I hope she never loses her childlike sense of wonder. I am glad that she is such a "happy baby" most of the time. Having a perfect day like we had at the zoo makes it all worthwhile. Even when it's followed by a day from Hell when she's overtired and screaming like a banshee. But I'll save that for another blog!