Henry turned 16 months old this month. This is how he feels about life.
(I know it’s a little obnoxious to measure age in months, but the difference between a 12-month-old and 23-month-old is pretty big, so months it must be for now. We can all have a big party in May.)
And now, some stats:
Favorite foods: Bananas, cheese, eggs, blueberries (all berries), spaghetti, cereal from Mommy and Daddy’s bowls.
Favorite books: Subway and Toot Toot Maisy.
Favorite words: Quack, hi Daddy, bye-bye Maisy (which sounds like “Deetee”).
Favorite toys: Rainbow stacker, picnic basket, spoons, bowls, TV remote, cell phones, any container with objects inside it that can be dumped and put in another container, laundry cart, doors, dresser drawers.
Favorite activities: Drumming, running, throwing, pressing screens with his fingers, whining about not being able to press screens with his fingers, being read to (sometimes just so he can say “the end” at the end), practicing animal noises, eating fruit, and climbing up slides, up stairs, on the couch, up the bookshelf, on top of anything.
My favorite parts about being his mother: Squeezing his belly every time I buckle him into his stroller or high chair, the hug I get when I pick him up from school, the bruises on my leg from where he climbs onto my lap after handing me a book to read, pretending to understand the important information he just told me, rocking him to sleep, making him laugh, him making me laugh, looking at him and seeing some of myself, seeing this every day:
In December my brother is getting married many states away. It will be Henry’s first trip on an airplane. He might not like it.
Nobody likes listening to a crying baby in a contained space. Not even that baby’s parents. But worse than listening to a crying baby in a contained space is listening to adults complain about a crying baby.
“I have chosen not to have children and thus should not be subjected to yours,” you may say to me. To you I reply, “Oh, if only your mother had made the same choice.” And no, I am not making you any damn goody bags. How did those even make it through security?
Some airlines have started offering a child-hater ticket class for flyers who hate children and will pay extra not to be seated near them. I say, good for you, airlines. I also say, since we’re all supporting a class-based system in which people who pay more get treated better, why not also offer a child-hater-hater class? I’m not saying take out the middle row and put in a ball pit (though I’m not not saying this), but maybe some sort of assurance that fellow human beings who happen to be parents who are doing their best to make sure you a-hole jerks aren’t – oh my God – bothered can at least for a few minutes on a plane not be treated like sh*t. And maybe milk available for purchase.
Maybe Henry won’t cry. But now I’m kind of hoping he does.
In July we decided to become zoo members, more specifically a Conservation Supporter Member of the Wildlife Conservation Society. We’d recently received half off our tuition for a week of day care as a twice-a-year vacation option, so we decided becoming zoo members was an outstanding way to spend our “extra money.” Henry and I had taken my sister and father to the Central Park Zoo earlier in the summer, and Henry, after a short time of rightly wondering what the heck was happening to him, caught on that there were new creatures to watch do things. He especially liked the sea lion feeding. And spending time with his Pop Pop and auntie, who knew exactly where the birds were in the bird sanctuary.
So we felt the zoo membership would at least be a valid experiment. Now, we can come and go as we please at the Central Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and New York Aquarium (plus some other perks). We’ve already visited the Central Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium, and we will get the others before it snows, or at least before it should snow. We’ve done a Members Evening at the Bronx Zoo and a Morning at the Zoo in Central Park, and this alone made the (partly tax-deductible) expenditure worth it. Let me tell you about it.
Central Park Zoo
On a sunshine-filled summer Sunday morning in the most visited park in one of the most visited cities in the world we enjoyed peace, quiet, peace, quiet and doughnuts and coffee and learning about snow monkeys in a peaceful, quiet zoo. Henry could walk freely around without worrying about a triple-wide stroller running him over or getting edged out by a pushy adult in the penguin house. Ahh. Sundays are the busiest days at the zoo, so finding ourselves alone at the red panda exhibit on a summer Sunday felt like Vanilla Sky, but not as creepy.
Henry listened to the zookeeper and watched the monkeys for a little while,
then he went to look for the polar bear (who recently passed away – rest in peace, Gus).
then cawed at the parrots.
The red panda was like, “Hey guys.”
And we got front row in the penguin house (where it’s hard for amateur photographers to get photos of penguins).
And at the puffin house.
And then we went to Belvedere Castle, which is kind of like a people zoo.
This was a members evening, meaning the evening started just a little before bedtime. We knew the risks. Blueberries cure everything temporarily, even if the stain lasts forever.
We only managed a few photos on this outing, because bedtime. After parking the stroller and getting our hands and face sufficiently dirty, we were read to go.
The monkeys were a little worrisome
But he loved the tapirs. Yup, tapirs.
Then we called it a night. We saw all of the Wild Asia exhibit, including no line at the monorail because of our sweet members-only night.
We went to the Bronx Zoo one or two more times and the Central Park Zoo many times over the summer, even if it was just to pop into the Penguin House on the hot days we spent all day in Central Park. The membership has made itself worth it just for that. I’m looking forward to see Henry’s reactions and questions as he gets older, because we will be renewing.