If You Take A Toddler To The Zoo- A Cautionary Tale
If they have arms, they will not want to have them sunblocked.
If they have hands, they will not want to hold yours.
If they have a hat, they will not want to wear it.
If the whole small mammal house smells like the skunk enclosure exploded, they will want to spend an hour there.
If there are fresh clean free bathrooms they will not want to use them.
If there are Official Zoo Strollers to borrow, they will not want to ride in one.
If they have elephants, they might want to say HI BABAR. Aaaaaaand that’s pretty dang cute.
All kidding aside, having a little one has truly tested my patience reserves this summer. I might joke about toddler insisting on doing things the hard way even when presented opportunities to be little lordlings (see: strollers!) but the truth of the matter is that the fault usually lies more with my expectations than with the little person just…doing what little people do best (having their own opinions and ways they want to do things).
I wish there were an easier way to make outings like the zoo seamlessly fun for everyone the whole time, but I’m coming to accept that some things are going to be fun for some people some of the time, and others…not. And sometimes the person not having fun can be my kid, and I can still peek at pandas eating their lunch and enjoy myself, even if my kiddo would rather do something else. Both of us will come out the other side perfectly fine.
Not everything that’s supposed to be fun will be fun, and it’s okay to keep doing a thing even if one’s kid isn’t the one having the best time. Likewise, if a kid’s activity is so utterly miserable, I’m now a huge advocate of scrapping the unfun thing! We left the zoo after about 45 minutes, and it was fine! Suffering for the sake of completing an activity just isn’t worth it. (Granted, the zoo was free. BUT STILL! We had to drive and make a large effort to get there.)
I guess the moral of my story is, sometimes things that are supposed to be a blast with a kid…just aren’t. And it’s okay to quit doing them while you’re ahead. And it’s also okay to keep doing the thing even if the little kid isn’t the one having fun, because a little suffering through an activity other people enjoy isn’t the worst being-part-of-a-family skill one can learn.
(I still really wish she’d have been happy in a stroller or wagon, but…c’est la vie!)