When you visit the same place year after year with children, one of the many benefits is being able to compare and contrast in a way that would be impossible with a constantly shifting venue. We have been visiting Roger Williams Park Zoo consistently since the boys were babies. The first year it was simply a single stroller ride that needed to be curtailed because Oscar, at barely one, was a bit overwhelmed by the noises emitted by the temporary dinosaur exhibit–a concept that simply eludes him today. The next year saw the commodious double stroller and a toddler and a baby who fell asleep at alternate intervals, Oscar immediately after his requisite visit to the elephants, and Edgar fairly regularly throughout. Then there was the year, which is a particular point of pride for Oscar, when he was rather sick (okay, he threw up) in front of the lemurs. Today, however, was a little different. There was no stroller. Nothing particularly frightening. And not a bit of vomiting! It was an easy trip with two boys who spontaneously threw their arms around each other at one point and explored the attractions together. Oscar tried to read the guide map and learn about the harbor seals’ habitat; and he was concerned about the penguins because there appeared to be no ice in their exhibit and he felt that that wasn’t realistic or comfortable for them. Edgar expressed his opinions about where he wanted to go and when he was ready to leave. So, though we visited the wild things today, things for us were a little less wild; in fact, they were easy. People said to us when the boys were very tiny–both in diapers, both drinking from a bottle, both needing us to fulfill every need and solve every problem–that “things will get easier.” We didn’t believe things were especially hard per se at the time–just busy, just the way they were supposed to be. But now I think I understand what was meant by that sentiment. Things were easier today. Their own curiosity led their way, and we were available to answer questions, make sure they were safe, and to purchase water, lemonade, and a couple of very cool butterfly souvenirs. But other than that they led the show. And I have to admit it felt natural, even easy to see and to let that happen.
To see the full album of today’s adventure at Roger Williams Park Zoo, please click on the following link: http://picasaweb.google.com/samanthadonoscaredgar/RogerWilliamsParkZoo2008