Thursday, January 20, 2011

It was a good day

Parenting is hard work. Anyone who tells you differently, isn't doing it right.

Terrible two's is an illusion and a reflection of parenting errors/accomplishments and a few random rays of sunshine found in your toddler's crooked smile.

There are bad days. A good parent knows they happen and learns from them. A poor or failing parent repeats them from sunrise to sunset like that movie "Groundhog Day".

Today was a good day.

Nixon and I went to the Okinawa Zoo with some friends. The other mom and myself star
ted the day with a coffee treat before heading to the zoo. The zoo itself is far from stellar. But don't tell the kids that. To them this place where you can stand only feet away from giraffes, hippos and be nearly sprayed by an elephant is wonderful. To adults its a sad place where animals live in small barren cages. To a child you can say hello to a tiger or a lion or a monkey and the animal hears you. To a parent, the photo warning of big cats peeing in a person's face is something to giggle about and wonder..who was the person the actually got pee in the eye before the sign was up.
Nixon's growing up and our time here is winding down. So trips to the zoo are a great way for him to get some energy out while enjoying an experience that only Okinawa can offer him. I purchased another year long membership, the last I'll purchase while here. When this one expires it'll be a pay-per-visit kind of trip. Nixon will be free for the rest of our time here, since he's still under 4 years old.

Today, Nixon said "monkey", "bat", "duck", "bird", "hippo" and even "elephant" talk about a vocabulary explosion! He laughed while watching the elephant kick a ball, and squealed with glee when the elephant sprayed water at bystanders. He said "hi chica" to every monkey and bird we saw. And even called the Bengal tiger "arwee". It was amazing to be with him and be able to really interact and see him so into his surroundings. He's far from behind his peers, but since we spend a lot of time at home, I worry that he's not comprehending things like his peers do.
Not today. Today my baby boy was shining!
I got brave (or stupid depending on your point of view) and let Nixon out of the stroller so he could walk and explore on his own at his own pace, for the most part. At first he was tentative, walking a few steps then turning to make sure I was still behind him. Once he got comfortable, he was never out of my sight but out of my reach. We wandered towards the petting zoo part only to get there just as the animals were going on break. Not to be deterred, Nixon started following another little boy with a yellow construction vehicle
of some kind in his hand saying "preez" over and over again, which is Nixonese for "please". Several times I had to tell him its not his and no matter how nicely he asks for it, the little boy will not be giving it to him. The boy's mom looked back at me and gave a small smile, while her son kept running from Nixon clinging to his toy saying "mine" over and over again. I watched anxiously as Nixon and his little friend took on a steep sloping hill and nearly had a heart attack when they both started doing a toddler run down the hill. Both made it down safely, even if Nixon did do a fake fall at the end.
We made it to the pond area. I bought fish food and let Nixon feed the fish, duck, geese and pigeons. Yes, pigeons. Rats of the sky, poop dropping all over the fresh-from-the-carwash-car pigeons. These are the creatures Nixon spent the most time feeding. And they loved him. One in particular followed Nixon from the beginning of the pond walkway to the very end. Nixon had so much fun feeding the birds. We spent close to 45 minutes in that area and the
kids were loving life. Except little missy, my friend's daughter, who teased a goose with fish pellets and got bit in the hand. Even then she still wanted to feed the fish and ducks but yelled at every goose that got close to her. The girl's got gumption!

When all is said and done, I throughly enjoyed my day with Nixon. These are the days I'll remember and smile when he's a teenager yelling how I've ruined his life and I'm so mean or the gem every teenager tells his/her parents at least once "I hate you". Hearing those words will, no doubt, break my heart but I'll have today's trip to the zoo to remind myself, we've had some good times kid. Some good times, indeed.

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