Wednesday, June 29, 2011

leash or no leash: part two at the zoo

In response to my recent post leash or no leash?
I did it. I bought two.
I took the boys to the zoo today.  I'll post about the zoo later because that was an experience in itself but I wanted to update all of my loyal readers (what?...I like to pretend) about the leash situation.

I wish I could say....IT IS AWESOME! or....IT IS TERRIBLE! but instead, I say.....IT IS JUST OKAY!!!
Maybe we need more practice.

So at 9:30 am, I marched into the zoo, pushing the boys in our double umbrella stroller.  I had our bag under one seat and the leash backpacks under the other.  I packed a water and cracker pack in each of the boys' backpacks.

First stop, the Children's Zoo! We wheeled up.  I surveyed the area. No, I could not let them be free or I'd lose one of them! It really wasn't that crowded.  I'm just afraid I'll turn to get one kid and the other will take off and disappear!  There was a little, chlorinated, shallow creek and play things all in the middle. How fun and kids were playing in the water and going down slides, etc.  Then all around that were different little exhibits, some indoor, some out.

I wheeled us over to a shaded area by a fence.  I took Carter out and put on his backpack. Nolan watched and thought it looked pretty cool.  As I held on to Carter's leash, I strapped Nolan up. We were ready to go!!


What do I do with the stroller?

Seriously? I did not even think about this.  I brainstormed. Maybe I could have the leashes on my wrists and just push the stroller and along the boys would walk. No way. The leash is only 4 feet long and the stroller is about 4 feet in front of me. We tried it. It was all kinds of awkward. People were starting to stare. 

Okay. The only other option I could see was to grab my bag, keys, cell, etc. and leave the stroller. I could somewhat peek at it here and there but still felt nervous someone might fall in love with it and snatch it! I know it may sound extreme, but I'm trying to make up for my naivety in most of my life.

I left the stroller and finally....we were ready to go!!!

Carter to the left, Nolan to the right.  Nolan almost liked the pull. It was funny. Carter......nope. He was pissed. He yelled. More people stared. 

I found myself smiling and saying things like, "oh man these two are tough!" or "I'm not so sure about these things!  ha ha!" 

Whatever. I've committed.  Let's do this.  We awkwardly walked into the underground creature exhibit. They liked watching the Naked Mole Rat eat its orange slice. Seriously. They really enjoyed that.  Then I think they were ready to go but the little room was circular with a big tree through the middle and of course they choose opposite directions. I couldn't seem to get them to agree so we went around a few times, dropped the leashes a few times.  There was absolutely no one in the room anyway. Why was I still even holding the leashes?  Finally we made it through the door. Let me mention that I'm dripping in sweat at this point and our day has just begun.

On our way out, I was happy to see the stroller still alive and well.  But the boys and their leashes were still terribly awkward.  We got a little twisted here and there or they ended up walking sideways or something. I don't know.  Finally, I just grabbed their hands with the leash straps around my wrists.  The leashes dangled but not enough to hit the ground and trip anyone. I liked this better.

Next we checked out Giant Rabbits. They were shockingly large by the way. The boys loved it!  This is where I started to like the leash. While I held their hands on the journey from one building to the other, I could let go here where they still could have escaped and disappeared.  You know.  I'm kneeling down by Nolan, pointing at the rabbit and watching his sweet face and I know I have Carter with me even though he is trying to move on to the next animal. Could I have just held Carter's hand and gotten the same result? Maybe but you seriously can only hold two hands for so long. Just on our walks to and from sites, our hands were a slippery mess. else am I supposed to get photos?

On to the fish tank, and then up for a little hand splashing in the creek and some pony watching.

Of course, there was a petting area! Yay!  We clumsily made our way through the gate and approached some goats. I liked having the leashes here!  My boys often see us patting our dog, Mallie, pretty hard. They try to do the same but it looks more like they are hitting. We have to keep coaching, "be gentle!"

It was hot. I sat the boys on a rock by the creek and gave them waters from their packs. I looked around and decided I thought they could play in this area with a slide sans leash. So we did it.  I was definitely constantly chasing one to keep him nearby or out of the watery fun (they were wearing tennis shoes, otherwise, I'd definitely let them stomp in the water stream!)

I know it is not a great picture but I really need to explain how I got it and how it is similar to how I get so many others.  I grabbed one kid and put him in the tunnel, stood up and looked for the other kid, found him, put him in the tunnel, the other one already ran out, grabbed him before he took off, put him in the tunnel......and snap the picture! and.....wipe the sweat from by brow! and.....oh....grab the kids again!

Anyway, it was time to move on.  Let's see some serious stuff like Elephants and Giraffes!  I grabbed their hands and headed to the stroller. It was still there but I left my bag and their packs on the rock. Whatever. Let me get them loaded. Carter is great at arching his back when he isn't ready to be strapped in.  I sometimes can fight back quickly but not this time. Nolan took off. I looked at would take him a minute to get completely out of the stroller so I ran to grab Nolan and was back in time to grab Carter's hand. Focus!  This time, I set Nolan in his seat and he actually sat there. Then fought Carter into his and strapped them both in. Whew!  Oh...and my bags over on the rock. Still there. Got 'em.

The rest of the time, we didn't use leashes. It was a lot of walking/pushing. I wheeled them up to see different animals.  I let them out when we were in small contained areas like Tiger watching...

And Giraffe feeding...

And for photo ops!

My leash review is still undecided. Right now, I'm thinking my boys need more practice and a little more age and a little more endurance with walking longer distances. I'm also looking for better listening skills (anyone want to tell me when that'll happen?) and a better ability to cope with the pulling.

We will be using the leashes again in two the airport! Yikes!


  1. Thanks for posting on the leashes...I'm still considering it....And did you take the kids on your own to the zoo?!! You rock. Seriously, that is awesome.

  2. Thanks B. I'll share our airport leash experience, too, later. I was solo at the zoo but since it was a Wednesday morning, it was not crowded at all so it could have been worse!

  3. We went to the zoo today with my cousin and her daughter and I was so thankful John took off work to come with us. I never would have survived with my constantly on the go never ever stopping twins. You are my hero! Just so you know I am a loyal reader.

  4. Hi! Found your blog via the MoM site. Thanks for the play-by-play post on your first leash experience. My mom bought us embarrassing monkey ones... not my fav, but we have them so I guess that's what I'll use when the day comes. Better than being a nervous wreck. I honestly don't think there's any 'good' solution for not feeling or looking crazy :) but little tricks like this certainly help!

    Look forward to following you!

  5. Thanks so much for reading, Cathy! I think the monkey ones are sweet! We are using them again soon so we'll see if it gets any batter!