I took my kids to the zoo this morning, which is really no small feat with these people. It requires a lot of preparation: timing for nursing, sandal buckling, lunch packing, stroller folding, supplies gathering, etc etc. Anyways, we made it out the door, we even made a quick stop at Trader Joes, and then we made it to the zoo. Parking lot. The zoo parking lot. Because once we got that far, I saw bus after bus after yellow looming school bus, parked along the road and emptied of children, whom I could only assume were running through the zoo.
Hundreds of them.
And normally I wouldn’t care, actually in my old life I would’ve been corralling a big hoard of kids myself, for my job at summer camps or after school programs, but this is my new life and it involves two little babies who can’t do anything by themselves and are easily lost. The zoo, crowded and hot, felt very stressful. Every time I turned around I caught a glimpse of Clara running off with one of her ‘older’ cousins (3 year olds, very responsible you know) and it. was. not. fun. We made it about 100 yards in to the tiger exhibit, only to the find that the great cat was hiding somewhere in his cage, away from the multitudes of pudgy fingers clawing at the glass window of his home. My sisters and I backed our strollers out onto the winding path crammed with school children and said over the din of our crying toddlers: “Let’s get the heck out of here.”
We ate our picnic in the park under the shade of giant old trees and caught our breath. We changed diapers, cleaned up our mess, and after watching enormous crowds leave for their own lunch break, decided to try the zoo again. After 15 minutes of the chaos and the glaring sunshine on Clara’s brightening skin, I knew I was done. So I bid farewell and pushed my stroller with my tired daughter back to our car on the other side of the park. Then I needed to nurse baby Sam. I set Clara in her car seat and fed him behind the steering wheel. Then I got out to buckle him into his car seat, shut the car doors, and stretched in the sun. And felt a cool breeze across my breast.
Yes. Across my breast. Because I was still in “nursing position,” if you will, unhinged for all the world (park) to see.
Perfect. And you’re welcome, park dwellers. I take my payment in singles.
My babies cried most of the way home, hot and exhausted, and I hustled them inside our house for naps. They were both pretty worked up, so I held them close and rocked them. I read a few books. I sang their favorite lullabies. They calmed down and went to sleep.
Some stuff sucks with babies.
Like the zoo on field trip day.
And nursing in parking lots.
But this day right here? This is the tiniest, teensiest, most precious moment in time when they both fit in my lap. And they both just need a whispered rendition of “You are my sunshine” for their lives to be right again. That’s all. Just my lap and a sweet song and they are off to sleep with tired smiles on their faces.
And you know what?
I love that.
I really, really love that.