Zoo and Eating Out
5:36 pm: This morning was our trip to the zoo. I am really sick. Last night my nose ran like crazy and I was even sneezing while I put Jet back to sleep. He did go back to sleep relatively quickly, though, the two times he got up for me, and then at 5:30 he woke up with a poopy diaper and John thinks he might have gone back to sleep after getting changed, but they stayed up and played anyway. Dad actually put Jet back to sleep in his arms and then tucked him back into his car seat for another hour's sleep.
Mom and Dad and I were up around 7:20. Jet got up at 7:45 or so, when I was knocking about in the bathroom. He had rice Chex while we had breakfast and then ate some solids from Mom. I nursed him a few minutes before we left for the zoo and got emptied enough to not feel weird.
We met up with Kathy at the entrance. She'd arrived on time and was sitting under the elephant topiary, so Dad dropped the rest of us off while he went to park the car and walk back. Jet was very happy to see Kathy and he kicked and wiggled while she held him.
The zoo was pretty fun. I could feel my nose and throat were pretty darned infected, but why not enjoy things anyway? Jet certain was. He bounced about in the stroller, and actually wore his sunglasses for the first time in a very long time. We went in the front entrance, and they actually searched everyone. New rules since September 11.
The first thing, while Mom, Dad and Kathy debated which way to go, Jet got completely fascinated by the flamingos at the front entrance. He was just amazed by the raucous, pink, tall birds. John cheerfully made a joke about, "What, it's not like you're never seen these before... oh! Yeah! That's right, you haven't!" Jet kept peering back at us as if wondering if the funny birds were another joke perpetuated by his dad.
Jet got to look, good and long, and then we were off across the park and down some steep canyons to get to the panda bear exhibit. Hua Mei is now nearly an adult. No longer the little, tiny baby panda, she's cheerful, huge, and was sitting there eating away on a bamboo stalk. We could hear each massive jaw crunch into the thick stems as she just munched her way through the enormous cane. Her back was to a tree, and she was sprawled out in the sunshine, doing one of her two favorite things to do, eat. The expert at the area said that the two main things were eating and sleeping and they excelled at both.
Jet watched for a little while, but really seemed more interested in the people around him and the bush he could grab that was right in front of him than the far-away bears. I got one good shot of Hwa Mei, and then we went on.
The hippos were fascinating, a mom and her calf were in the middle of the swimming pool, which was clear and clean and shimmered with light. They basically posed on a rock, right at the middle of the exhibit. Mom had her front feet on a rock and would go up for breathes every once in a while. Baby was tucked against Mom's shoulder, half asleep, and she'd go up for air twice as often, but then come down and cuddle back into place against mom each time. They were very cute, and the angle of refraction was evident whenever they broke the surface and we could see their eyes, ears, and nostrils.
We got to see the rhinos and elephants as well, after a bit more of a hike. Along the way were lions, brown bears being shooed out for cameras (and actors and other things oh, my!), and fruit bats that were actually out in the sunshine! The monkeys had been moved from crowded little concrete blocks into open areas with much better quarters, but they were still huddled around a heater. Poor little guys.
We got to see three teenage gorillas rampaging happily about their compound. They moved so quickly. Jet watched them intently, not really trusting the glass. He reached out to pat the glass between him and one of the apes, and got a return pat on the glass from the teenager on the other side before the gorilla took off in a dead gallop in the other direction.
It was fun. It was a great walk. I got a good seven thousand steps. We then all piled into the cars and went to El Indio's for Mexican food. Jet fell asleep on the way over, and instead of waking him up, I just put my straw hat over his face and pulled him, car seat and all, out of the car. He then went halfway under the table and Dad watched him while we trooped in and ordered food.
Jet looked like a little old man napping under his sombrero. The hat covered half of him, his sweater covered the other half, and his feet stuck out.
El Indios is a Mexican food place that we've always loved. It's one of our pilgrimage spots, and it, as always, was super-abundant, cheap, fast, and good enough for the other factors involved. Mom and Dad each had a 'mini-burrito' that would be a normal burrito at any other stand. Kathy's mini-chimi was fist sized, and John's carnitas tacos nearly rivaled Minas back in Erie in size. They were a bit tougher, though, but still really tasty. I had a beef tamale with the chile beans, and it was really yummy.
Jet woke up when we were about done. He was grumpy and sleepy on the way home, but ate off me pretty well. He then went off to play with everyone while I rambled off to bed and went to sleep for four hours. I just woke up, and Jet was asleep, so I get to write a little. We're planning good Chinese food for tonight, and crab and Jet's birthday party with the folks tomorrow. So the week is filling fast.
9:48 pm: Yum. Chinese dinner. A whole flounder in a light sauce, deep fried until everything was crisp. There were the dry cooked string beans with an extra spicy meat mix. Shrimp with pea pods and other vegetables. A tofu leather dish with chicken and scallions, Jet loved the thin strips of chewy tofu, and ate a whole lot of them and threw a whole bunch of them under his chair as well. He liked the rice, too, and ate plenty of other things as well. I really enjoyed the short ribs and eggplant hot pot that was very savory, the ribs were super tender and the eggplant was tender and full-bodied. I really liked that on the rice. It was Kathy's favorite restaurant and it was very good indeed.
Jet had a great time there. Some of Mom and Dad's friends were there and they came over to see Jet. They got a huge smile out of Jet. He also had huge smiles for all the restaurant people that came to say hi. He had a great time eating what was placed in front of him and then Mom did the amazing job of feeding him a whole jar of baby food on top of all the stuff he'd been grazing on.
After dinner we went to an Albertson's right there and ordered a birthday cake for Jet. We decided on a carrot cake since chocolate was still not something we give Jet, yet. He'll get it eventually, but for now we're still avoiding it. Mom didn't really want a plain white cake, so we got carrot with cream cheese frosting and decorations saying "Happy First Birthday, Jet!" That should be pretty fun in and of itself.
After getting home, Jet rampaged about and played like crazy. He had fun with the blocks and throwing them at John. He was not just tossing them over his shoulder at whomever was behind him but tossing them in all directions. He was even throwing them across the livingroom. He was going strong all the way past 10 pm, and I finally took him into his room and in the darker quiet, he finally settled down to eat and fell asleep.
I got told lots of stories about what Jet had been doing while I was asleep. That was fun. They even got some of it on video tape, so I'll get to see some of it. John said that they even got a shot of Jet in a tree! I think I'll sleep more and let Jet play more with this part of his family.
John and I and maybe Kathy, if she's interested, will probably go to a movie tomorrow and there's crab and the birthday cake planned for tomorrow. Yay!