Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Stretching Our Boundaries

When we were in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky a few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of taking Eleanor to the Cincinnati Zoo with Grandma Karen and Grandpa Jim. We've taken Eleanor to the Cleveland Zoo quite a few times, and she always loves it, so we knew it would be a fun trip.

First of all: The Cincinnati Zoo is really nice. Just from our wanderings, I think it's a lot bigger than the Cleveland Zoo. Everything is very attractive and well done, from the landscaping to the animal displays to the playground. The Cleveland Zoo is good, too, but the Cinci one raises it up a notch.

It was, as always, a lesson in how unpredictable children's interests are. We saw giraffes, elephants, monkeys, penguins, and more. We visited the petting zoo and Eleanor pet goats (one of which tried to eat my shirt). Even though Eleanor tired out pretty quickly, we did our best to fit in as much as possible.

So what was Eleanor's favorite part? Petting the snake. She made me go back to the snake lady several times. Snakes are not an animal that she has ever shown an interest in before, but maybe that will change now. And maybe, if she could have petted an elephant, they would have been her favorite. But the tactile experience, and being so close to the snake, definitely won her over.

I watch her openness to new experiences and marvel at how she takes everything in stride. I can't imagine being where she is: Why be intimidated by the new? Practically everything is new, and the majority of new experiences are good ones, so every day is an opportunity for a positive new adventure! Never petted a snake before? Let's do it! Why not?!?

I think about how resistant I am to change. For example, I always go to the same grocery store. I always start at the right end of the store, in the dairy section, and work my way across to the personal care products area. I like to go on Sunday afternoon or Monday—early in the week. When I can't get there by Monday night, it very likely throws off my entire week. For the most part, I buy the same brands, in the same quantities, to make the same recipes. And then I do it all over again the next week.

When did this happen? Will this happen to Eleanor too, or have I always been like this? Why did I look at the snake lady and think about how I'd rather be out of the heat, sipping an iced mocha with a book in my hand?


Elaine said...

I'm with you on the snake! We recently went to Blair Drummond Safari Park with Emily and I had to work up the courage to feed a goat! I don't want my little ones to learn irrational fears from me, but it's going to be hard when my stomach tightens as an instant reaction. Well Done you - you got a lot closer to the snake than I could have, that would have been Daddy duty!

Can you believe your baby is going to be TWO soon?

Elaine x

M. Lubbers said...

No, I can't believe that she's going to be two! Which means that your Emily will be 3 in December. CRAZY! And it's been almost 4 years since we came for your wedding. Time has been flying ....

I hear you about trying not to pass on fears to the children--especially because they're girls and we're their mothers. We'll do our best!

Jonathan said...

I get busy for a week, come back, and you've written some of the best posts I've ever seen - and they're all really interesting (as against my excuse for a blog at the moment lol).

It's interesting how we fall into a routine, isn't it. I think it's just kind of natural when you have a lot of things going on - work, kids, etc - you need a strategy to cope, and the routine is it.

I get told off for being too tidy, but in reality it's the same thing - just wanting SOME things to be consistent and predictable.

M. Lubbers said...

Thanks, Jonathan! I'm blushing, but immensely pleased, by your praise. If I ever do get around to publishing a book, I'll mention your support as one of my "keep on writing" inspirations.

When Eleanor was a newborn, I became obsessed with cleaning the kitchen. Which is particularly ironic, because before I drove my husband crazy by leaving dirty dishes in the sink. But I agree with what you're saying: routine and tidiness are ways to cope with the chaos that our lives have become.

Until maybe, we come out on the other side (once the kids leave the nest, eons from now), and then we shake off the routine and go a bit wild again? We'll see!