Monday, 14 May 2012

We're Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo, How About You, You, You

We have these new German friends, Andrea & Simon, who have two daughters, Sibylla and Alma. Sbylla is a week younger than Elizabeth, and Alma is 1 year, 11 months and 2 weeks younger than Elizabeth. I got to 'babysit' a sleeping Sibylla when they went to the hospital to deliver Alma, and I guess the Germans know how to get it done, because they went to the hospital, had a baby, and came home before Sibylla even woke up. Impressive!

Last weekend, we took the girls to Shepreth Wildlife Park for the day. We had originally thought of going to one of the National Trust sites, like Wimpole Hall which has a working farm - fun!! But there is only one bus to Wimpole Hall, and on Saturdays it leaves Cambridge at either 0810 or noon. And the last return is at 1316. Thanks for nothing, Whippet Bus Lines! Also, renting a 7 seater van for all of us would have been 356£!!! Isn't that crazy? Oh, and no National Trust sites in Cambridgeshire have any coat check type rooms to leave carseats if we decided to take a cab. Come on, England!! Help me help you!!

So instead we took the train to Shepreth and went to the zoo. It was a fabulous day! The girls were happy the whole day, the animals were fun, the parents were delighted with the easy-ness of it all. For example, the section called Bunnyworld, where the rabbits are just hopping around in the open, and then sit still so toddlers can pet them. Two happy girls petting bunnies? Are we in heaven?

There was a weird assortment of animals: Shetland ponies, a donkey, something called maras that I'd never seen before, a tiger, a puma, a long-legged South American wolf, lemurs, meerkats, otters, wallabys (wallabees?), a peacock, bunnies, and the required lake with swans, ducks etc etc.

Oh, and of course, a reptile house in 'honour' of Princess Diana. Obviously. 

So, with all these amazing animals around, and things to see, what did the girls want to do most? Run around after pigeons, perform balancing acts, tickle each other and laugh, and be completely adorable, obviously!!

Sibylla actually did show interest in the tiger & the puma ... when we were close to those exhibits, Eliz climbed on big rocks, stood on one leg and yelled "tada!". I guess a career in zoology is not in the cards. It was pretty classic that her favourites were the swans & the ducks - yeah, the two animals that abound at home in Cambridge, and we can see everyday. Tiger? Puma? Wolves? Not interested.

We cleverly orchestrated our exit & train ride to coincide with toddler naptime, allowing us about 40 minutes of grown-up time to have coffee in Parkers Piece in Cambs, making us the Smartest Parents in the World. Our walk home after naptime passed through Midsummer Common, and there was a funfair for the weekend. (For Canadians: it was like Klondike days only smaller, and without so many scary carnies and less mini-donuts.)

Sibylla was totally into it. Elizabeth, not so much. When Sibylla went on the Roller Ghoster (yep, you read that right):
 Elizabeth blew giant bubbles, sitting on the grass by herself. Cutie.

And then when Andrea convinced me to go on this spinny-whirly-faster-and-faster-and-then-go-backwards ride, Elizabeth cried and cried the whole time! Matthew kept pointing and saying, "Mummy's right there! She's okay!" and Eliz just kept bawling! Sibylla started crying too, and we thought it was only because Eliz was, but after the ride she explained to her Mum that she wanted to go on the ride too!

We've been having a lot of these kinds of days lately: the activity isn't wildly exciting, but the company and ease of it all makes for a really lovely day. The kinds of days where you come home feeling rejuvenated, not exhausted. It's been a good spring for the Hawkeyes. Roll on summertime!

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