Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Who Wants to go to the Zoo?

      I made the mistake of telling my kids we'd go to the zoo today.  Our day started off good enough, Evan started by finishing off his fish painting and Alec made some more chocolate birds.  We ate breakfast and watched another Bill Nye the Science Guy movie about mammals (their pick and I was thrilled that it went along with the zoo trip!).  They were eager to get ready and head out, or so I thought, but an hour later we were finally in the car.  After long frantic searches for pants, coats, car toys, playing around, hide and seek, goofing off,  etc, we were finally on our way.  I was annoyed but chalked it up to the stress of trying to get out of the house.  We made it to the zoo before 10 so I was happy and it was a gorgeous, sunny day.  We had listened to the end of the Magic Treehouse book about the Sabertooth tiger and  I was prepared to enjoy a fun day outdoors with my three boys.  We were excited to see if all the animals were back on exhibit since many were missing when we had last visited in January

       I'd love to say it was a great day, but it wasn't.  Within minutes of entering the zoo Alec was yelling and giving me attitude about the map, Evan was complaining he was hungry and Ian wanted a drink.  After patiently explaining to Alec numerous times that he was reading the map wrong, stopping to get Evan two snacks, and reassuring Ian every few minutes that we had water to drink, I was starting to think I had made a mistake.  I finally snapped and threatened to leave multiple times before they finally seemed to settle down and have some fun. 

The boys LOVED the giant anteater

This bird had his wings out the WHOLE time!

The moon bear!  We finally saw the moon bear!

the lesser panda; Alec's favorite animal!

sad that we missed the tree kangaroo I was forced to take a picture of a picture

Alec found this goose sitting on a nest!
The turtles were sunning themselves and we saw tons of them today!
      We saw pretty much all the animals the zoo had to offer, we had a nice lunch, and even ended up stopping in the gift shop when my sunglasses snapped.  The boys were thrilled to also walk out of the gift shop with a few new toys.  We saw "new" animals that hadn't been on display in January and I was finally feeling like our morning was behind us.  That feeling didn't last long at all.  Before I knew it they were complaining about the animals that weren't on exhibit.  Ian complained it was too hot and we picked a lousy day to come to the zoo.  Evan complained his feet hurt and he was tired. Alec complained that none of the zookeepers could tell him what happened to the tree kangaroo.   Ian complained that I made them walk the wetlands/wildlife trail that we've never been on.   They complained that they only got two little animals each at the gift shop and would have liked _____ (insert name of desired animal here).  They complained about everything and anything and I was fed up.  I reminded them that they could be back in school.  I reminded them that they were lucky we get to go places. I reminded them that they always complain.  They complain when I plan lessons, they complain they're bored when I don't.  They complain when we stay home all week long, they complain when we go on field trips.  I told them I was sick of listening to it all and perhaps next year we'll end up back in public school and then they can go to school every day, all day and I won't have to listen to it as much.  They asked to go home.  It was noon!  We drove an hour both way to last somewhere between 2-3 hours.  I was livid.  I was fed up and I was done.  I told them that I had planned a few fun trips for next week (and even the week after) but I'm thinking we'll stay home.  I can't stand the attitudes, but at least if we're home I don't have to add the anger over money and gas wasted.  I reminded them that's it's April and it will get hotter.  I reminded them they complained in January that it was too cold when we last went to the zoo.  I reminded them that I expect them to be grateful and say thank you.  No one did.  Even after I bought them toys, not one of them said thank you.  I know this is an off day for my kids because that is one thing we've always drilled into them.  We remind them constantly of all that they have and to try and think about what they do get, not what they are missing.  It was an awful day for us all I think and once again I hope tomorrow goes better.
      We drove home listening to yet another Magic Treehouse book-- Midnight on the Moon and it was pretty silent.  But, the afternoon at home was long and loud.  They fought, threw toys, tackled each other, and destroyed one another's K'nex creations.  There were tears, minor injuries, screaming, yelling and slamming doors (not by me-- the boys, I swear!).  I was calm.  I was apathetic at this point.  I wanted desperately to lock myself in my own room and just let them destroy the house or each other as long as they left me alone and my headache would go away.  I didn't; but boy I sure did want to!  They were sent to their rooms, sent outside and talked to more times than I can count.  I told them that they get this one pass, for today only but, if tomorrow starts out (or ends up) being like today, they will receive one job assignment after another.  My whole house needs cleaning and I have a list of chores just waiting.  Extra energy can and will get put to good use. 
      By dinnertime I was drained and thinking we never need to visit a zoo again; after all, who needs the zoo when you live with a bunch of animals? 

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