Friday was a very full day.
Rysa wanted to take Zoe to the zoo and, as it happened, she had just gone on break (year-round school) two days previous. Rysa didn’t get out of class until 3pm, so I was sent to pick up Zoe. Then I had to leave early to give her mother a ride to work first because her truck was broken. Then I had to pick up Zoe before 2pm because her mother had gotten a ride, but her uncle still had to leave for work.
That gave me 90 minutes alone with the hyper child to entertain until Rysa got out.
We stopped by Albertson’s to get some fried chicken for lunch and, on the way out, Zoe wanted to skip to the car. So we skipped. An old man in the parking lot then picked up his cane and began conducting us with a great big smile. “One, two! One, two!”
I forgot to get us drinks and Zoe wanted a Wendy’s frosty, so I got back on the Big City main road in early-afternoon-school-just-got-out traffic. I couldn’t get over the 6 lanes needed to make my turn, but somehow this turned into a 40 minute adventure just trying to swing around and make it to that durn restaurant. This time was filled with singing Frozen songs, as no one else in her life is willing to sing/listen to them anymore. She casually mentioned how much fun she was having at least three times.
We finally got back to the apartment about 15 minutes before Rysa got home. We rushed to eat and smear on expired sunscreen.
The zoo was only open another 60-90 minutes once we arrived, so we skipped straight to the catwalk. We have never been at the zoo this late in the day and so finally got to see non-exhibit feedings! One keeper stopped to answer questions about an eagle (as it ripped off the side of a fish and threw it at the keeper) and all of the other animals were nice and lively.
Zoe and I stopped at the Bobcat while Rysa walked ahead. She stopped at the next display, snow leopards, and when she turned back to call us ahead, one leapt down behind her and stared hungrily at her turned back.
Me: “He wants to eat you.”
Her: “Who? OH! Hi, kitty.”
Me: (to cat) “I’ll gladly feed you to her if you let me cuddle you.”
Her: “Thanks, Kris.”
Me: “……..Well, you heard him.”
Her: “Thanks, Kris.”
Zoe: (sincerely) “Aunt Kristina, thanks for not feeding me to the animals.”
When the zoo closed, we had another hour and a half to have Zoe before we needed to pick her mom up from work, so we went shopping. We went to a local wine shop and Zoe, as she got out of the car, ran around the car to hold my hand.
Her: “What am I, chopped liver?”
Zoe: “I love you, too, Aunt Rysa! I love you… TEN times more than Aunt Kristina! I love you both the same!” *grin*
The sampler tables inside were decorated for Valentine’s, but it was getting close to closing and so they gave Zoe their little cup of heart candies. (How could that go wrong?)
We headed to a local store that sells polished stones and agates, etc., because I wanted to get a heart-carved stone. Zoe followed me around picking out things she wanted to “get” for me. We started following Rysa on her search to find a pretty amethyst geode for a gift; there was a giant display, which Zoe insisted on going through each one and saying, “This one is perfect! You should get this one!” It took us a while, but we finally found an actually-perfect one. Then I bought an unopened geode and got to watch it get sliced open by the giant buzz saw. (Power tools~)
By now, we were exhausted and hungry. We went to the mall to pass the time. Again, Zoe wanted to skip, so we slung our purses on and skipped all through the parking lot, gaining the attention of about four gangsta-looking folks standing outside the front doors and a woman in a vehicle who shouted, “That’s the way! Oh yeah!” at us.
We were eating some delicious Hawaiian chicken when Zoe announced she needed to use the restroom. She has been trying to do more things herself, now that she’s a whole eight years old, but it was too crowded for us to let her go alone. I offered to take her and – full of concern – she turned quickly to Rysa and said, “But I love you, too, Aunt Rysa!”
Then we headed out to pick up Zoe’s mom and take them both home; Rysa turned on a Pandora channel that started to play Wicked’s Defying Gravity (which I’ve loved since high school), which I belted out through her mother getting into the car. She made a passing comment about my singing and Zoe insisted we show her how we sing Frozen songs (we screech the final verse of Do You Want to Build a Snowman? and the high note in Let It Go) – but after her father “rolled down the window to jump out on the freeway” the last time we sang, Zoe quickly said, “Aunt Kristina, lock the windows!! Ok, now we can sing.”
Finally, we dropped them off at home and, after forcibly-loving on Zoe’s kitten, we were able to return home seven hours since my journey began. I think the exhaustion hit us harder than her, as did the candy – but hey, she doesn’t sleep at our place. ;)
Hoping you have a wonderful week!