We wanted to go to Zoolights on Friday for Winter Solstice. But it was cold and we were tired. We wanted to go to Zoolights on Saturday. But it was cold and we were tired. So there we were on Sunday the 23rd and it was our last chance to see Santa Claus at the zoo before he had to go back to the North Pole to get ready for his big trip.
So it was Sunday or nothing. And of course Canyon decides that is the perfect day to take an EPIC nap. A nap so long and so deep that Vikings would write songs about it. A nap that completely messed up our time line and it was almost 7pm when we left the house. Zoolights ends at 9pm and we would be seriously pressed for time. But the highway was fairly clear and we were making good time when I suddenly realized that I had forgotten the cooler bag in the fridge. We the thermos of milk and the three bottles. Crap. We debated going back home for it but knew that if we did that there would be no Santa for us. Sigh. We would have to risk it. All three love the bottle but Canyon is particularly obsessed with it and we could be in big trouble. But on we went.
Fullerton Avenue was backed up with zoo traffic and now we would barely have 90 minutes there and it seemed silly to pay $24 to park for such a short time so we decided to turn down the side road and see if we got lucky with parking. Not only did we not get lucky with finding a free parking space, we got trapped behind busses, trolleys and other parking cars and it cost us a good 15 minutes of frustration and then we still had to pay the full price to park, fight to find a spot in the lot and then unload all three kids into the stroller and bolt for the Lion House and Santa Claus.
But now Canyon had seen all the lights and was way too excited to stand in line so he took off running with John racing behind and I stood in the very long line for Mr. Claus. River and Raven were patient at first.
Then they got cranky and my sanity was only saved by the emergency bag of Angie’s Kettle Corn that I had packed. Side note. This stuff is amazing and you should go get yourself some right now. They carry it at Costco. You’re welcome.
John and Canyon came in and we tried to get Canyon to stay in line. Nope. Off they went again. And we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally John and Canyon were back and it was our turn to sit on the big red lap.
How did it go? Let me show you.
Yeah. Not as easy as last year. When I looked up from the chaos I noticed that a crowd had gathered to laugh and point at the crying and screaming boys and perplexed little girl. And their frazzled parents. I am afraid to look on Youtube to see if there are videos. Yeah.
Whew. So that was a huge chunk of time taken for the sake of tradition. Now it was time to race around and see as many of the lights as possible in a short period of time. Usually they turn off all the lights promptly at 9pm which left us with maybe a half hour to experience the show.
We did pretty good.
We were rushing. But that was OK because we weren’t really feeling it this year. The zoo was overly crowded and most of the crowd was rude and completely oblivious to those around them. People would walk in front of photos, push into shots instead of waiting their turn, stepping on little kids and they plowed their way through the experience. It was disappointing. And even the lights seemed to be fewer and not as bright. But it was still beautiful.
Canyon did ask for milk and started to cry when I explained that we didn’t have any but he was easily distracted by the lights. But any time we tried to stop the stroller to take a photo he would howl, wanting to be in constant motion. This got a little old. So when John was trying to take the photos of me with the twins in front of the giant light sculpture Canyon sort of lost his mind. And he was screaming. And some childless woman waltzed by and proclaimed “Merry Christmas!” in this long, drawn out, snotty voice. I wanted to snarl back in her same sing song voice, “F*CK YOUUUUUUUU!” I didn’t. Because I am a nice person and a mother. Oh but in my head…
Anywho. We wouldn’t have had time to see it all if the security guards hadn’t let us all have twenty extra minutes of electricity so it all worked out well. River is very independent these days and insisted and walking the entire way back to the car so John, Raven and Canyon went ahead while I held her little hand. Anytime I tried to carry her to speed things up she would howl and fling herself around violently. So we strolled. By the time we go to the van everyone was loaded in and Canyon was desperate for his bottle. He was appeased with goldfish crackers for the long wait to get out of the parking lot but the tears were in full force by the time we hit the street. The poor little guy really did handle it well, considering. I tried buying him a bottle of milk at Wendy’s but he wouldn’t take it. I kept explaining that I had messed up, that Mommy had forgot the milk and while he would cry and scream for a few minutes he didn’t freak out as badly as I thought he would. He is starting to understand more and that is helpful. And hopeful.
So it was a bit stressful, but we saw our Santa and put one more winter tradition in our album of memories. Nice work Team Viets-Strel!