Sunday, September 21, 2008

Look at the Elephant Poop...

Saturday was Zoo Day! We've been getting Ava excited about this special family outing for weeks... and I'll admit, hanging it over her head at times when she was being naughty.

Aside from getting lost on the way to the Hogle Zoo (come on Salt Lake, how about some signs with arrows at least pointing us in the general direction) and Jax's freak-out on the zoo train, the trip was a great success! Ava, of course, was in heaven. I'm telling you, if she doesn't grow up to write children's books or be a dictator, then I think she may just be a zoologist. There is no doubt in my mind that she could have stayed there all day, and probably most of today had we let her.

The zoo is great in so many ways. First and foremost, it gives us time together as a family. Secondly, as stated above, Ava is on cloud nine. Third, it provides us such a great opportunity to teach Ava about animals, habitats, continents... and poop. Now, anyone who knows our family would autmomatically assume that all poop-related questions, comments, or general statements would be directed to Andy. But it seems yesterday, I was fielding all the turd questions.

It all began with the elephants. Quite possibly responsible for the mother-ship of all poopies. I was so excited to take Ava to see the elephants. As we approach the elephant exhibit, I see two... I get a little giddy inside. In my head, I'm imagining the look on Ava's face when she sees the pachyderms... excitement, joy. However, when we got closer, the look that came across her sweet little face was concerned, puzzled... and then disgusted. "Mommy, look at the elephant poop!" There it was, taking center stage to the giant jungle beasts... a big stinking pile of elephant poo. What do you say to that? All I could say was, "Oh, yep sure enough." I had never experienced an awkward silence with my daughter until yesterday. Fortunately, she changed the subject. "Oh look, that one has tusks." Phew.

However, I wasn't quite out of the woods yet. Little did I know, that Ava would have poop on the brain. While at the giraffe area, Ava got to watch a zookeeper spraying one down with some sort of solution (that smelled a lot like Windex) that helped keep the flies away. As I explained this to Ava, she asked, "Does the zookeeper clean the giraffe." "She does. She takes care of the giraffe, just like Mommy and Daddy take care of you. She gives him a bath, and brushes his hair." "Does she wipe his heiny when he goes potty, too?" Here's where it gets tricky. "No, giraffes don't need to have their heinies wiped." "Do they poop?" she asks. "Yes, they poop, but they don't wipe." "That's disgusting!" Well said, honey.

Okay, this has to be the last of the poopy conversations, right? Wrong. We also talked about the bowel movements of tortoises and monkeys.

Now, the day wasn't all #2. We did get to see some pretty cool things. Ava loved the white alligator. She's so fearless. At her age, I cried at the sight of Goofy at Disneyland, so there's no way I would have gone right up to the glass and stared a crocodile in the face. But she did. She was so polite too. She introduced herself to him, asked him his name. Told him she liked his tail. You know, just normal icebreaker stuff.

We spent quite a long time at the giraffes. There were six in all, but Ava was just enamored with the baby. She made friends with him too. She actually became quite possessive of him, yelling to a group of big kids, "Please don't look at the baby giraffe. He belongs to me." I think the giraffes may have been Jax's favorite too, because that's where I fed him.

Ava really loved her day at the zoo. You know what, and so did Jax. He may only be four months old, but it was so neat to watch him just taking it all in... looking at all the people, the trees, feeling the wind on his face. He was so content. As we left the zoo, I asked Ava if she had fun, of course she emphatically answered yes and told me she wanted to go back another day. I asked if she learned some neat things, again, an emphatic yes. That's what it's all about.

Hey, I learned a few things at the zoo, too:

1. There will always be some dough-head who taps on the glass, despite the giant sign telling him not to.
2. The giant brass tiger sculpture is just as exciting to a 2 1/2 year old as the real deal.
3. Jax does not like trains... at least not now.
4. Kangaroos have really creepy looking tails.
5. Ava can sure spend a lot of time talking about poop.

Stay Squishy...

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