Posted by AVM

On Friday, my best friend and I took our daughters to the Bronx Zoo.  Growing up 15 minutes away, I have been to the Bronx Zoo many times and have fantastic memories of my parents taking my sister and me through the House of Birds, seeing the zebra, screaming in the Reptile House, you name it.

Seeing the zoo through my Lovey’s eyes was an incredible experience.  It was her first visit, and she made the most of it.  We made our way through many of the exhibits, but her two favorite were by far the Butterfly House and the Children’s Zoo.  We stepped into the balmy Butterfly House to literally thousands of brilliant, fluttery, butterflies whirling around us.  Lovey immediately put her finger out and said (and repeated a few dozen times), “Mommy?  I need one on my finger!”  The bright wings fluttered around her, flirting, but never landing, and she took it in stride.  As we left the exhibit, she said, “I loved that, Mommy!”  I loved it too, Lovey.  I loved watching you.

Onward to the Children’s Zoo – the zoo within the zoo for the littlest guests in the park.  We walked into the area and I instantly panicked when I saw the goats, sheep, and alpacas that were eating little pellets out of kids’ hands.  I thought, “Ewww.  Alpaca lips and goat germs.  Gross.”  Not Lovey.  She jumped right in.  Against my instincts, I bought her some food for the beasts and off she went – fearless as always.  As her mother stood and worried that her little daughter would get nipped by sheep teeth and contract some odd, incurable disease (yes, I’m that mom), Lovey did not hesitate to hold her hand right up to the animals’ hungry mouths.  And away they chomped.

Whose child is this?  I never considered myself a “joiner.”  Even now, before I really try something, I need to be relatively comfortable, weighing the risks and benefits.  I like a sure thing.  Lovey takes risks, and I’m so happy she does.  All truly successful people do.  My job is to not break her of that (while still keeping her safe).  I have a lot to learn from my daughter.  At the end of our outing, as we made our way to the parking lot, Lovey was fast asleep in her stroller, exhausted from a day of discovery.   I can’t wait to take her back.