I planned a trip to the zoo this week for spring break. Of course, silly me, I assumed it would actually BE spring, but apparently that’s too much to ask. It was twenty-four degrees when we left home. Christian assured me it would warm up quickly as soon as the sun rose. Two hours later, when we pulled into the zoo parking lot, the temperature had managed to brush the freezing mark. With a strong wind.
Did I mention I was plus-one? We invited Alex’s friend along, so it was me and five children. And did I mention Julianna was sick? She threw up before we even got to Alex’s friend’s house. I was really not sure I was making a good decision, but frankly the idea of dealing with the kids deprived of the trip they’ve been anticipating all week was just more than I could stomach.
The carousel at the St. Louis zoo is free for the first hour, and despite having a zoo membership and tickets to blow this year, we figured it was wiser to make for the carousel while it was free. The problem was the kids were cold, and there was a jackhammer working next door. Michael spent the entire ride shrieking.
Despite the rough start, it turned out to be an enjoyable day. We alternated indoor and outdoor displays so we could warm up every few minutes, and by noon or thereabouts it was actually a civilized temperature to be outside, provided you wore a heavy coat that was zipped up. And Julianna only threw up once more.
(Right there is the sign of a veteran mom, n’est-ce pas?)
The real moral quandary of the day was this: I had planned to end the day with a visit to my ninety-year-old grandmother, and I really, really wanted to see her, but I really, really didn’t want to expose her to The Bug. I ended up calling Grandma to ask what she wanted me to do. We had a mother-to-mother conversation about the nature and duration of this bug, and she decided we should come on over.
I made Julianna keep her distance, but by now Julianna seemed to be on the mend. She ate Great-Grandma’s saltines and asked me to run the player piano. She perked up as soon as I started playing Chim-Chim-i-nee and A Spoonful of Sugar and Puff The Magic Dragon. Then the boys joined us. All told, we had about forty minutes of player piano time, after which we took Great-Grandma out for dinner and headed home. Julianna, predictably, kicked the bug in a third of the time it took the rest of the family. I tell you, for a girl whose babyhood was peppered with hospital scares, she’s healthier than anyone else in the family.
Here’s a Julianna story. The night before the big trip, she began whimpering and complaining about her tummy hurting. “Do you need to throw up?” Christian asked her as she stood over the toilet.
“Yeah,” she said.
“Okay,” he said. “Do this: HUAAAAAAH!” (You’ll have to use your imagination on that one.)
Julianna went, “HUAAAAAAH!”
“Okay, all done?”
“Okay, get in bed, then.” And off she went. We didn’t hear another peep out of her all night.
Obligatory mention of The Novel That Won’t Die: It’s a good thing I have a deadline, because this last (or perhaps I should be realistic and say “latest”) set of changes is going so s-l-o-w-l-y. In the past I’ve waited to incorporate changes from my critique partners until the whole works was done. This time, because I’m trying to hit the aforementioned deadline (a contest), I have to do both at the same time. Man, it’s going slowly.
Of course, it doesn’t help that I spent three days down for the count from The Bug. Today (I’m writing Thursday afternoon) was the first time I was able to exercise in a week. And Spring Break doesn’t help either. But I think that’s just life, and I have to deal with it somehow or another.