Today we went to the zoo with my sister and her boyfriend.
Luke is at a tricky zoo age, he likes to walk and be out of the stroller, but he's not that great at holding hands reliably and needs to be lifted up often to see.
Matthew only tolerates the stroller for an hour or so at a time. And he isn't really a huge fan of being 'worn' for very long (although while we were at the zoo it occurred to me that I've never tried to put him in facing outward, which is one of the options, so I may have to give that a try.)
Anyway, the first and only time I attempted to bring both kids to the zoo on my own was when we were meeting up with a group of friends and that was mostly a huge disaster. (Had to chase Luke up the biggest freaking hill in the park because he broke free from my hand and chased a squirrel. Matthew wanted to be held most of the day and NOT in the baby carrier. Luke didn't want to ride in the stroller. Etc.) I learned my lesson from that and only try to go to the zoo if someone is with me or at least meeting a friend for a smaller group.
So we met them at the park and had a nice morning with just a bit of rain but that was okay too because it kept it from getting too crowded or hot. My sister and her boyfriend got "zoo'd out" after a couple of hours but there was no way I was going to try to drive 45 min home without feeding Matthew. I was feeling brave though so I told them they could go.
I managed to feed them both (big thanks to the ducks for keeping Luke entertained while Matthew was eating baby food)- only one minor meltdown over a part of the pretzel Luke dropped and I threw away before he could eat it, but other than that, it went smoothly enough and I told Luke that if he stayed in the stroller we could go see more animals. He said okay so I figured we'd give it a try and could always leave if he started getting antsy.
We went and saw the apes, and the birds, and the penguins, and the bears, and I even managed to find a wheelchair-accessible bathroom and took the kids in it because I had to pee, and they sat there quietly and were totally perfect.
We were all completely exhausted after that so we made our way back to the car and I changed both kids diapers as I put them in the car (one of the huge conveniences of having a minivan) and basically not only did we all survive our day of fun but it went ridiculously well and the only glitch in our afternoon was me getting mildly lost trying to find the penguins (and walking like 2000 feet out of our way but even that was okay because Luke liked looking at the animals along the way.)
I'm sure this means the next time I try to venture out with them, it will probably be a huge disaster, but for right now I'm relishing the moment that I took the two year old and 9 month old to the zoo and spent the afternoon with them there on my own and it was quite fantastic.
Now let's cross our fingers that everyone sleeps well tonight because I am exhausted and the boys must be too considering neither of them has slept for more than 45 minutes today.