The boys and I went to the zoo today. We met up with some friends to see the Farm Babies exhibit... yay, right? On one hand, yes, and on the other... yes?
Usually I am the queen of being ill-prepared. Field trips like the zoo usually start in a chaotic morning of me rushing around the house trying to get everything packed and everyone dressed and out the door. This morning was different, however. I packed our lunches last night and my wonderful husband even got a roast ready for the crock pot so we'd have dinner ready when we got home (thanks, darling). Any way, the morning was going great. The boys were calm, relaxed and had already been filled in on what our day was going to be like (I had shown Parker the zoo website last night so he knew what animals we were going to be seeing and where we were going... I'm doing that every time from now on). They ate their breakfast and were off to play while I finished packing up the car.
Our drive was as they usually are.. Spencer fell asleep, Preston 'counted' things as we drove by them and Parker was my navigator and co-poilot (never allowing a lull in conversation for more than two minutes). The Fresh Beat Band was rockin' and we were on our way to a good time.
For the most part the boys were good when we first got there. Excited, yes.. 'Naughty', no. We hung out in one exhibit while we all (we were with a group) took bathrooms breaks and got situated for our long trek to the farmyard. That is where it all started. Parker was bored. Preston was bored. Spencer was bored. And I was getting anxious.
We took off for the farmyard and things were looking up. The boys were allowed to run (and jump into puddles) so they were doing ok. We finally got to the farm and immediately I saw the boys' eyes glaze over. A farm? Really? This is what we drove all this way for? I don't mean to make it sound like my boys don't like farms... They love them. However, they love their Uncle Kurt's farm... Where they get to actually hold baby pigs, feed calves and ride the tractors. This was nothing new and this was boring. I tried to stay close to our group... I didn't want to completely bail on everyone, but the main entertainment for the boys was this giant pig statue that they got to climb on. Wow.. So glad I spent obscene amounts of money coming to this zoo... I could have had taken them to the mall a couple of miles from my house. Haha..
It was time to eat (isn't it always when you have kids) so we went into this cute farmhouse to have our packed lunch.
This is where the real trouble started.
And looking back, it was ALL. MY. FAULT.
I hate small places. I hate a lot of kids. I hate loud places. Most of all I hate loud, small places that are packed with a bunch of kids. I walked the boys to the back room where a table was saved for us and I could feel my blood boiling. Mild hyperventilating is not an understatement. Then came my leave favorite task... Feeding the children. It's hard enough to keep kids happy/full during mealtime when you're at home and you have a refrigerator stocked full of all of their favorite things, but trying to please everyone with the picnic lunch you packed them is a whole new battle.
'I don't want broccoli.'
'Can I have a milk.'
'Oh, Mom.. Can I have those (pointing to Goldfish that they sold at the place).'
'No. They have gluten.' (thank you gluten, for that easy out)
Why didn't I pack a bigger salad? I knew that is what Preston would want (my salad), so why didn't I pack another one?
Mid-Meal Bathroom Break.. Of course, it wouldn't be a meal out in public without one!
I took Preston down to the bathroom and then the real trouble turned into WWIII...
The toilet flushed while he was still sitting on it. For those of you without kids, you need to understand that the toilet flushing on it's own is a huge deal. First of all, not only is it scary as all heck for the little tush that is sitting way up there (always about to fall in because public toilets seem to be fitted for 800 pound giants) but to a child, flushing a toilet is like being a magician. You pull this lever, or push a button and then all of the a sudden water comes down and their pee (or in this case a grand number two) disappears. So.. The fact that the toilet did it on it's own, before he was ready called for a complete meltdown.
We went back upstairs to join everyone else and finish our lunches, but I should have known that was not going to be happening... Instead I returned to a crying baby (he is severely attached to me right now) and along side me was a two year old who could no longer be pleased by A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. Except, of course, the notion that he should run up the stairs to the 'Staff Only' area.. Seriously, can't this kid read? I, on the other hand, had a salad to finish, along with some chips and guacamole. The meltdown continued and then my biggest pet peeve happened... Preston got so upset (I believe this was in part because of the fact that I wouldn't let him get his own chip of the plate.. Who even remembers at that point?) that he spit his food onto the ground.
Seriously, child.... Who do you belong to, because it sure as heck isn't me right now?
I was fuming as I packed up our lunchbox and got everyone ready to head back into the cold.
We went back outside for some more 'fun' on the farmyard.. Parker was seriously almost bored to tears so I agreed with him to break away from the pack and go see the 'real' zoo animals.
It was like the clouds parted and angels began to sing. The boys were still annoying, of course (not to mention Parker's peeing on the sidewalk in front of numerous people.. oh, the embarrassment), but I could finally breathe and *I* started having a really good time.
We spent the next couple of hours casually walking from exhibit to exhibit with only one other set of friends. Not needing to wait for others. Not feeling like we need to hurry up to catch up to the group. We were just able to go at our own pace and see what we wanted to see.
So, that is where I come to it...
When will I learn that my reactions to my surroundings do NOT go unnoticed by these little men?
They look to me for guidance on how to act and how to feel in certain situation, so I can only blame myself for outburst when in reality that is all I really want to do. 'Behaving well' in public isn't something that I should have them work on, it is something that *I* should be working on. I get impatient and rude and take in out on the little ones that I should be protecting from this pointless stress.
Let's see if this lesson really sinks in for next time!