Thank god for the Bronx Zoo and its family membership plan. It’s just me and the kids on a lot of Sundays, and the zoo not only offers a fun diversion and a surefire way to induce long naps afterwards for all of us, but its membership plan rocks and pays for itself in two visits. Over time, I’ve become somewhat of a savvy zoogoer, and this past Sunday was a little bittersweet, since it’s probably it for us until spring. So as a tribute to all those Sundays I spent huffing and puffing behind a double stroller as I attempted to locate the elusive red pandas, these are the ways I’ve observed how a day at the zoo (in da Bronx or otherwise) can be an apt metaphor for parenthood.
1. You will learn the art of preparation: Any parent knows the importance in life of packing a well-rounded diaper bag or knapsack for outings with the kids. I thought I was a veteran, until I started going to the zoo. No matter how well I packed, my kids became immediately voracious and could polish off three-quarters of the snacks I bought before we’ve made it to the first exhibit. More than once, I was forced to pay for a $6 ice cream cone and a $3 drink box, member discount included, because I ran out of things for them to eat. I don’t know what it is about the zoo that makes them so freaking hungry, but I finally learned my lesson and now habitually pack all the contents of my pantry before we go out anywhere, and it is (usually) enough. These zoo outings have served to fine-tune my prep skills, and I’m a stronger–or at least better prepared–parent for it. Read the rest of this entry →