This month Yoli has been taking a “fondant and gum paste” class. No, that’s not a chemistry course at UMSL … it’s a cake-decorating class at Fischer’s!
So on Thursdays I’ve had the girls to myself for an extra two hours.
The first week, I was thinking of taking them to a destination, like the Zoo. I asked Jadzia if she wanted to go there, and of course she said yes. But it wasn’t a well-thought-out plan on my part. After all, it takes a while to get to the Zoo from North County. And if you don’t score a prime parking spot, you have to tack on time spent walking the extra distance.
As it turned out, that was a particularly busy day at the Zoo. We ended up spending maybe 20-30 minutes grand total inside looking at animals and were late getting back to pick up Yoli.
The second week I decided to stay nearer to Yoli. We played on the swings at Bangert Park in Florissant, where they have that old Sherman tank. After that we visited the Florissant Valley library, which is actually within the park, to get a drink of water and check out a book. Then, the main event of the morning: bowling at Crest Bowl.
I consider it a super-heroic feat to have bowled one complete game along with my three-year-old daughter, while at the same time keeping my one-year-old more or less corralled. Suffice it to say, one game was enough for me.
Today I didn’t have the energy to try bowling again, and the park probably was all wet because of the light rain we’d been having.
After dropping Yoli off, the overcast, foggy sky gave me a last-minute notion. School had started again, which would mean fewer kids out and about. The threat rain of rain was sure to scare off most everybody else. We would try the zoo again.
(This is my “Six Flags Strategy,” which I have mentioned before. Plan your trips to Six Flags on rainy days, when you are sure to find shorter lines and better parking.)
Before committing to my plan, I asked Jadzia where she wanted to go. “The Zoo,” she said. I drove past Bangert Park and asked her again, just to be sure. “No, I don’t want the park,” she said.
We got to the zoo in good time and found a gem of a parking spot. So far, my plans were falling into place.
As we walked to the entrance of the zoo, a light rain began to fall. No problem, I thought. I just put on Jadzia’s hat and draped her blanket over her head and shoulders.
But then it started to rain harder. I watched, envious, as a mother and daughter in front of us traipsed along under an umbrella.
I tried running, but Jadzia doesn’t really run. I had to hoist her up onto my shoulders and run, pushing the stroller one-handed. We made it to the entrance and sheltered just inside the gate, waiting for a break in the rain. I checked Jadzia, and she was fairly dry. Ludi was another story. Anytime she’s in the stroller (and awake), she sits right on the edge of her seat. She refuses to lay back. This resulted in a fairly wet baby.
After a couple minutes, the rain lightened and we made a break for the herpetarium. Inside it was warm, dry, full of reptiles … and Amish folks.
Jadzia got a kick out of seeing all the lizards, snakes, frogs, caimans, etc. Ludi could care less about the animals; she just liked being able to roam and to climb the steps and platforms for the exhibits. At each one she would pull herself up and start slapping the exhibit sign, which was pure entertainment for her.
There were quite a few Amish. Some of the Amish girls were watching us with a bemused look. I found it interesting to see them there, since I had read a story in the newspaper this morning about how the Amish population has boomed in the U.S. over the last decade.
We spent a good 30 minutes in the herpetarium until Jadzia started to get a little restless and silly. By then the rain had stopped. It was only overcast and muggy outside, and we had each dried out.
I decided to take the girls to see the butterflies at the insectarium. We got some good closeup views of the butterflies, including a chocolate-colored one which landed on a zoo volunteer’s clipboard and let us observe it for a few minutes.
After the butterflies it was time to head back to Florissant. I would have made good time except I took a bad route out of the park to the highway, which wasted a lot of time.
All in all it was a nice way to spend the morning. As for Yoli’s classes, she has one week remaining, which she will miss while she is in Bolivia. She’ll make it up in September after we’re all back in town.