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?