Thursday, June 5, 2014

We Love Our Zoo & Positive Changes

Despite the look on Apple's face, she loved the zoo. She hates the camera and makes faces and rolls her eyes every time I pull it out and was peeved when I asked her to stop on the bridge for a picture when she was much more interested in walking over it. We all love our zoo. After being to the Safari Park in Guangzhou, we are rather picky about our zoos and our little local zoo rates right at the top of our list now. The seal exhibit is amazing and looks and feels just like the real ocean. It's large and has several viewing points. The seals are all rescues, one is even blind, as are the pelicans, who were injured in the wild in ways that rendered them unable to fly. I love that these animals now have such a nice home and weren't euthanized or put in a blue swimming pool type exhibit.

I put in the picture of the zebra because I've never seen a zebra with three different colors. This one was white, black and grey.

The seals and sting rays were our favorite. There is a place to touch the sting rays and nurse sharks - if you dare - and all my kids dared and loved it, even Apple. Because we were the last family in the zoo at closing time, we were allowed to feed them their dinner. My girls dipped their hands right into that bucket of dead chopped up fish and tossed them right in. I have video of it and of when Sissy took the bucket and tried to fling the fish "juice" into the ray pool and nearly got it all over me instead. My quick fencer feet got me out of the way just in the nick of time!

I bought a family membership to the zoo so we'll be going often as well as exploring another big park here since entry to that park is included in the parking pass to the zoo. It was so nice to enjoy the day with my children and see them carefree and happy and know that we have some options for outdoor outings now. These types of outings were a huge part of our life in our old neighborhood and we've missed it dreadfully. Now, we can feel more at home here in our new neighborhood. This weekend there are two special evening events at the zoo and we will be going to both of them.

In the last week, I've made changes to the girls' schedules and routines that have brought better balance to each of them. Today, Blossom followed her school assignment instructions perfectly for the very FIRST time! We really celebrated that! She was very proud of herself. She also learned how to do a knee drop today on the trampoline, something she didn't believe she'd ever do. Sissy and I enjoyed a mother-daughter night watching a movie after the little ones went to bed. Jie Jie has stopped lying and is taking responsibility for her daily care. The changes I made included more school work and more regimentation to the day with specific times for play and activities they have to do when I have to be on the phone or cooking or whatever takes my attention away from them, like play fine motor skill games or memorize scriptures or do word searches. They are thinking and playing, but don't have to invent the activity themselves. They know where they need to be and when, even if I'm busy, and they know what they need to do. So, while most families are looking forward to the freedom of summer, my kids are happiest with the opposite. They feel more secure and loved by me when I guide their entire day and can give them something specific to do when they can't think of anything themselves.

My social worker also came today to do the post-placement visits that are due. She had a couple suggestions that I think will be helpful and enjoyed seeing the girls. Since she sees them only a few times per year, she can see the progress that they've made. Apple really blew her away. She went from a crawling baby to a walking toddler in just a few months. After she left, the girls got in the pool for a few minutes. Blossom learned to propel herself today, one might even call it real swimming since she went from point A to point B all on her own. I think by the end of summer I'll have some real swimmers.


Anonymous said...

Jean just posted about her older girls adopted from China. I don't know if you read her blog, but she has 12+ adopted children from China and 2 with severe cognitive delays. She might be a good resource.

Shecki Grtlyblesd said...

Were you at SF Zoo or Oakland? Do you have reciprocal benefits to get in free at Sac Zoo? Might make a good meetup next time you guys are up here at Shriners. It's not a great zoo, but it's a decent place to hang out.

K said...

Neither, it's our local zoo.