I feel like some women were just born to be mothers. The transition into motherhood for these women seems almost seamless. They just know what to do with kids. They are at ease with small children. For me, parenthood was as jarring as falling down a flight of stairs. I'm just not a kid person. And, all the sudden I have two. Alex's arrival was the equivalent of having a rock fall on your head after falling down the parenthood staircase. I was out numbered. At the park, at the store, even in our own backyard they could gang up on me. Now don't get me wrong, I loved my boys from the moment I laid eyes on them. A furious, intense love that I could have never imagined. But, just because I loved them didn't mean I knew what to do with them. I spent most of the last 10 months feeling at a bit of a loss. Honestly, I was nervous to venture out much. I did some, because staying at the house all the time with the kids would make me batty but I just never felt confident in myself. The unpredictability of two small children stressed me out. I always felt on the verge of a complete break down. However, in the last few weeks a pleasant trend has occurred. I have found my parenting footing. I can't explain it, and it might just be that Alex is pushing a year old, but I am feeling grounded. Confident in my role as a mother. I may not ever be that mom who at ease in a room full of toddlers. I might never acquire that mom tone that causes all children to obey. But me and my boys have found our rhythm. I feel like we are getting to a place where we can start to have adventures. I feel alive with the possibility of all the fun that is waiting for us. So, when Jason got sent to a training in Knoxville we not only tagged along but we went to the zoo. That is right people, I took my two tiny children to the zoo by myself. No one got lost or hurt. And, perhaps the biggest shock of all, I had an absolutely marvelous time. It was splendid. I wasn't a ball of nervous the entire trip. The boys weren't perfect, hello they are 2 and 10 months, but they did so well. I am finally starting to be able to relax and really enjoy the kids. I am feeling comfortable with my kids, and it is a good feeling.
We got there right as the zoo was opening and since it was a Tuesday and school isn't out yet, we basically had the zoo to ourselves for the first hour. It was so neat. Just us and the animals. Henry loved everything expect the gorillas they kind of freaked him out. Oddly, I think he might have got the most excited about a squirrel. Yeah, a squirrel. There was a giant tiger 60 feet away and my child is squealing with delight and jumping up and down because he sees a squirrel. At the point I was kind of glad the zoo was empty.
Look at Alex! Okay, he still can't pull himself up but he is getting better at standing. He has low muscle tone but therapy is helping and I can see some improvements. They had this great indoor play area, it was like a mini creative discovery museum.
The double stroller, gigantic but a life saver.
Henry rode the carousel all by himself. I told him I couldn't ride with him and I thought he might back out but he looked at me and said "I do it like a big boy." After I got him buckled he looked so nervous. You could see the anxiety all over his face. He never asked to get off. Right before it started I asked if he was okay and he said a simple "yes." The first time around he had this look of total panic, I actually thought for a second that I might have to ask them to stop the ride. But then, all the sudden he just burst into the biggest grin. Every time time he passed me he yelled "hey mommy!" When I went to get him off he said "I like it, I do it on my own mommy." I know it is such a small thing but it felt so big. He is growing up. Slowly overcoming he is overcoming his fears and working toward independence.
And lastly, here is a photo of the boys playing at the hotel. They were laying together laughing. I am so happy they have each other. And, I am so happy I have them. Oh the place we will go little boys, next time we might even let daddy tag along (in all seriousness Jason really was sad he missed the trip, we must go again soon).