Edie, our little peeper monkey, met some other animals this week: We took our first trip to the zoo.
Eric spent the trip helping a family we know look after their boys. (No one wants to see a little boy be dispatched by a lion or croc!) After he rushed off with them—they had already moved on from the mountain goats by the time I made it through the entrance—I wandered in with Edie.
As I pushed the stroller down the ramp to an underwater observation area, Edith began to scream. Her wails echoed off the concrete faux rocks that made up the cave. I sat down on a step, figuring it was as good a place as any to nurse her.
As Edith ate, I realized it was better: My impromptu feeding station had a view. An enormous sea lion swam in circles, sliding right up the glass where delighted children waved to it and posed for pictures. We were so close I could see its eye, slightly cloudy and rimmed with long lashes. That in and of itself made the whole adventure worthwhile.
We later met up with a friend, Carisa, and her daughter. I was immediately grateful to have her help. Carisa pushed our stroller while I held Edith in a front carrier. She handed me a blanket to cover Edie with because I’d forgotten a sun hat (rookie mistake). And she watched my little girl when I ran to the café to grab a veggie burger (I forgot the lunches I’d packed in the car—another first-timer slipup).
We didn’t come close to visiting all the animals. A pack of wild dogs appeared in the enclosure in front of the bench where I happened to change Edith’s diaper, though, and we watched hawks and vultures swoop low over other zoo-goers during the bird show. We’ll leave the hippos, giraffes and polar bears for a future visit
The creature I most enjoyed watching was 3-year-old Mia. She delighted in showing me around, taking photos of the cheetahs and playing “tickle monster” on the lawn. She has such a fun personality that I couldn’t help but look forward to when Edith is big enough to explain rules of a make believe game or have favorite animals to visit.
I’m also learning about taking our Peeper out on adventures: I need to stash a sun hat in my diaper bag. It doesn’t hurt to have an experienced mama along to help and offer support. And, when I’m able, I’ll be choosing a cool, shaded place to nurse that has a view.