On Sunday we headed to the Como Zoo in the Twin Cities. It's a smaller zoo, and the animals are fairly close-up, so we thought it would be Norah-friendly. We were going to me my parents, sister, and aunt.
About 30 minutes down the road, we heard a little whimper and then the sound of vomiting. And then we smelled the smell of vomiting. Of course, we were on the freeway, so we had to wait for the next exit... 2 miles.
Ryan sped up to the speed I normally drive at and I could feel my skull tighten. Norah was crying. The smell was thickening. The Subaru was going 75 mph in a 70. Come. On.
Finally we pull off and find a quiet, dusty area. Soon we have a toddler in nothing but a diaper, giggling and trying to escape, Ryan scooping out vomit from the carseat with his bare hands, and Heather trying desperately not to say, "I told you it was time for her carseat to be forward-facing!" as I assumed the ailment was carsickness. Despite our trepidation, we decided to forge ahead to our destination.
The rest of the ride was smelly, slow, and featured Mama singing Yo Gabba Gabba songs and Itsy Bitsy Spider, sitting with naked Norah in the backseat.
We got to the zoo and escaped from the reeking mobile tomb. We had packed some backup clothes for Norah, so we changed her on the boulevard and got her ready to roll. Aunt Sarah found us and snatched her up as Ryan and I tried to shake off our bad start.
So, Grandma, Grandpa, Sarah, Susan, Ryan, Heather, and little Norah headed into the zoo. And it was AWESOME! First we hit the primates building. The heat and humidity made our clothes cling to our skin and the air was thick and a little stinky, but all of that disappeared once Norah saw her first real monkey. It was pure, unadulterated joy. And she started making her little monkey noises-- "Ah! Ah! Ah!"
The zebra and ostrich were next. Then we passed some big cats. Norah growled at a lioness, sprawled out in some thick, green grass, lazily licking a giant paw in the unseasonable heat. Norah screamed for the snow leopard and grunted wildly for a tank full of fish. After each animal, she excitedly touched her hands together-- the baby sign for "more." Aunt Sarah even let her poke her finger in a koi pond. She was in heaven. The smothering heat and flecks of barf on my shirt didn't even matter.
Top Ten Awesome Things at the Como Zoo:
10. Penguins. Hello. Penguins are awesome.
9. Ostrich. It kept gnawing at the bolts on the fence as if it was trying to figure out how to escape. Watch out, Como neighbors.
8. Health Partners' vendor booth. Their mascot was a giant foam, dancing specimen jar. And children were hugging it.
6. Giraffes drinking out of really tall water fountains.
5. Weird little monkeys with mustaches.
4. Orangutans (and a baby orangutan!) doing death-defying trapeze tricks.
3. Mini donuts.
2. Rule-follower Ryan rebelling against the "Do Not Climb on Statues" sign, and placing his daughter atop a grinning giraffe for a photo op.
1. My awesome, happy family. :)