|This is what going to the zoo with three kids looks like.|
The plan was a good one. I would feed the children an early lunch, then leave the house at noon in order to give Gavin a chance to nap in the car. We would park in a prepaid garage near the National Zoo (thank you Groupon and Parking Panda!). I would wear Paul in the front pack, and push the other two in the double stroller. We would meet our friends at the pandas at 2:00.
The problem with plans is that they never quite go, well, according to plans!
The first part worked out just fine. We got into DC, found our prepaid garage, and walked to the zoo a few blocks away. So it was hot, so the stroller was heavy, we were off to a fun day at the zoo! But then snag #1: a delayed flight into DC meant we wouldn't see half the friends we were planning to see until 5:00 at the earliest, and I wasn't sure my crew would last that long.
And shortly thereafter, snag #2: "meet at the pandas" is a really vague meeting place, as it turns out, and my other friend doesn't have a phone after spending 6 years overseas... So there I was, wandering the National Zoo with three children all by myself. I wanted to cry. I wanted to give up and walk back to the car and go home. I was on the brink of feeling completely inadequate in taking three kids out of the house by myself.
But wait a minute, self! I'm already at the zoo! The children are (gasp) excited to see animals! They're even behaving and sitting nicely in the stroller and holding hands when they get out of the stroller to see better. They are overjoyed to see pandas! They don't care in the least that my plan to see my friends isn't quite working out. And you know what, self? I am completely capable of doing this trip!
I swallowed back the tears, handed snacks out to the kids, and chose to enjoy myself. And as it turns out, we did find that phoneless friend! And we were able to stick around the city till 5:00 to meet up with the other friends for some dinner! My kids were amazingly well behaved, given the heat and length of the outing and everything else. And I felt completely capable and strong and confident pushing my trio through the DC Pride Parade, where we happened to wind up (I totally forgot that was going on!) for dinner.
I was staring at all the men who had forgotten their pants that morning... and they were gawking at me in turn! "Good lord, that's a lot of kids, lady!" I heard from one man in gold undies with a tiara... All in all, it was a wonderful day. And then I got shingles.