Recently Alex and I visited the Baltimore Zoo while Aden attended class just 5 minutes away. This was my first one-on-one with Alex since he started morning and afternoon classes. This was also the first time I attempted the zoo without a stroller. I depended only on his bear book-bag harness.
Alex did a great job walking up the hill to the main entrance. The leaves were starting to change color and beginning to fall. It was a scenic walk, but a long walk. I was already regretting not bringing a stroller. I asked Alex “what animal would you like to see first?” Alex has mastered most “wh” questions and can even provide novel answers (answers without choices). He answered “giraffes”. That was until he saw the carousel in full motion. I didn’t bother arguing. Once Alex makes a decision, he’s quite determined. I said firmly “one ride” and off we went. When the ride was over I was surprised he didn’t throw a tantrum to ride again. $2 ride and no meltdown, I’ll take it.
Next was the train, a new attraction at what’s supposed to be the zoo, not an amusement park. Oh well, he seemed excited. I said “one ride” and off we went. He also did well on the train and did not throw a fit when the ride was over. $3 ride and no meltdown, I’ll take it.
Finally we saw some animals at no additional charge! As we approached the monkey house, Alex said “go see frogs”. He remembered that there is a frog exhibit in the monkey house. His memory is incredible. From our very first trip to the zoo, he loved the frogs. The picture below is from Alex’s 1st I&T’s zoo trip Oct 5, 2010.
Fast-forward 2 years and now he’s counting his beloved frogs. See video: http://youtu.be/PV7i_8SD6Ns
Then I counted the frogs. 21 frogs. He said 20 frogs. To be fair, two of the frogs were mating so I’m pretty sure he counted them as one. He pointed and said “look Mommy, piggy-back ride”. I giggled to myself. Thank goodness we’re not ready for that talk yet.
Finally we made it to the giraffe exhibit. Yes I was going to pay to let him feed the giraffes but luckily they were full. We had a snack and talked about the animals we had seen.
2-hours in and Alex was becoming tired and cranky, as was I. It was time to head back. We made our way towards the main entrance. We passed a playground covered in caution tape that read “DANGER”…try explaining to an exhausted 3-year old why he can’t go on the playground. That was fun.
We started the long walk back to the car. I can’t remember the last time Alex asked to be carried; he usually prefers to run away from me. He looked up at me and said “up”. I knew it was going to be a long walk. I put him down a few times only to get another “up”. With his head on my shoulder, it was a painful, yet pleasurable experience. I was sweating, my back was killing me, but I was carrying my big boy, something I won’t be able to do for much longer.