Friday, August 25, 2006

Day at the zoo

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures (who has the time?), but two days ago I took the kids down to the Santa Barbara Zoo with two of my girlfriends and their daughters (so seven kids between the three of us!) This was the boys' very first trip to the zoo and Anna's third time.

After having been to the San Diego Zoo a couple of years ago, I am maybe a little bit of a zoo snob, but it was totally fun (in spite of the fact that the gorillas were sleeping.) The kids did well, in spite of it being a no-nap day. The boys could kind of take-it-or-leave-it when it came to the animals (except for Biniam who loved imitating the birds), but Anna enjoyed looking at the snakes and the lions and the monkeys (okay technically they were apes but they looked like monkeys to me!) She isn't totally into the zoo yet though; I think she still liked the snacks we packed the best. We even rode the little train around the zoo, which was a highlight. Anna had fun sitting by her friend Claire and going "choo choo, choo choo!"

The most interesting aspect of the day (aside from watching a duck come and eat a monkey's poop) was how our little family was treated. We spent hours and hours at the zoo, and NOT ONE person pointed, stopped to ask me if the boys were twins (or more importantly tell me that they weren't), or batted an eye at the four of us. In fact, the only questions or comments we got were on our stroller! AND, we picked up Kevin from work that afternoon and ate dinner down in Santa Barbara, and at dinner no one seemed to notice/care either!

Looking back it was such a nice, stress free day! I got to just be a mommy out with my kids, at dinner we got to just sit and eat and have fun and not feel self-conscious about people staring at us while we're stuffing our faces. I'm not sure what to chalk it up to, what makes Santa Barbara so very different from Santa Maria or SLO County in that regard, but I liked it. It made me feel hopeful that someday we can live somewhere where we don't constantly feel like a circus act.

Such a contrast to a few weeks ago when we went to the California Mid-State Fair up in Paso Robles. I wish I had a dime for every person who came within five feet of us and pointed (yes, pointed), for every group of people who stopped in front of us to stare and talk loudly about our family (don't they know we're not hard of hearing), for the woman who wanted to take a PICTURE of our boys!

The only people in fact who I spoke with at the zoo was a wonderful African American couple who also is an adoptive family. They were interested in our family, Ethiopian adoption, had such wonderful hearts and I honestly wish I'd gotten their contact info.

So, a fun outing, and hopefully a glimpse into what can be someday. I really didn't realize how stressful scrutiny can be until I was out for a day without it, and I loved getting to feel like a family, plain and simple.


Rachel said...

If you want to have fun with people you can say that Anna was from your first marriage and the boys are from your second and the baby on the way is from the Latin lover you have on the side! (Don't really do that, but wouldn't it be fun)!

I hope people are pointing because you are a such a cute family. What is wrong with these people? I cannot believe you were able to go out to dinner on a napless day. You are my hero.

I've considered riding the train at our zoo, but I am not sure what you do with all the kid gear. Did they have a petting zoo? Aubrey loved petting the goats last time.

Brianna Heldt said...

HAHA! I know, I really should do that, it would be great to see the reactions! You know, it's always "positive" attention and well-intentioned people pointing, etc., but it is still a bit unnerving (especially at church considering the boys have been attending for six months.)

Obviously going into a transracial adoption you know you won't blend in anymore. And I love advocating for adoption, Ethiopia and Africa. To be honest I think some of the attention is because people around here are not around African American children (or adults) very often, some of it's because the boys are twins. We are learning what boundaries to set and will hopefully have a good "game plan" by the time they're old enough to understand what's going on.

Everybody just parked their strollers and gear next to where you get on the train, so you're able to leave it--thankfully.

Jeannett Gibson said...

You know, they could just be pointing at Kevin...

Bek said...

I am glad you had a good day.

We were in San Diego last week and at the zoo there we were constantly being stopped and pointed at and talked to. It has been a long time since I have had that happen. To be honest, I think it is the fact that we have a newborn again. I that makes a difference b/c that opens the door for people to talk...KWIM?

While we were on the bus that drives around the zoo and were stopped at one of the places, someone took pictures of my kids.....that kind of made me mad. And it creeped me out a little bit. Why do people do that?

Moral of the story...we are going to the wrong zoo!! Hope you are feeling better and I am glad you had a good day w/ the family.

Nohe5 said...

I love days like that!

Rachel said...

funny Jeannett! Why would someone take a picture of someone elses kids? people are strange.

MP2 said...

Eww, how icky to have people constantly barage your family!

Kevin Heldt said...

Ha! Yeah, Jeannett, that's possible -- that WAS the day I had that gaping flesh wound...


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