Wednesday June 28
We woke up bright and early – to be fair, we had no choice. Monki was up at 3:30 or so and that meant we were as well. When she fell back asleep we caught a few more minutes ourselves and then we were up and, with the whole family, ready to hit the day. This was going to be our first day of actual sight-seeing and we were doing it up right – hitting the world famous San Diego Zoo.
The first thing we saw when we entered the park were the zoo’s mascots, a panda and a koala. Okay, they weren’t really a panda and koala, but people dressed in walk around costumes. The reason this was important to me was it would be the first opportunity to see how Monki would react to costumed characters, and since we were going to Disneyland in two weeks, this could be influential on how that trip was planned.
Thankfully, it all went off like clockwork. Monki, safely in her mother’s arms, showed no fear at all when approaching the panda. Then she reached out and tweaked the character’s nose. We were good to go! She didn’t have a problem. Whew!
Now we were off to enjoy our day. Since there were ten of us in the group, with all sorts of speed differentials and lists of what must be seen, it made sense to split up and get back together several times during the day. For example, we knew we wanted to go to the kids petting zoo area and that Monki was going to be moseying along at Monki pace (plus, when everyone else wanted to go see the snakes and lizards, Rasa decidedly did not). So we each went our way and sure enough, did end up meeting and touching base throughout the day.
As I said, our first stop was the kid’s zoo, where a small petting area was set up. Monki went in and immediately went up to the one goat sitting on the ground, not bothering anyone. She walked right up and reached out her hand. I assumed she was going to pet the animal, which in reality was about three times her size. Fearless this kid is. Of course, I was wrong. And instead of petting the goat, Monki reached out and yanked on its ear. I tensed, ready to grab my baby out of harms way in case the beast decided to try and exact revenge and at the same time, gently pulled her hand off the critter’s ear, but there was nothing to worry about. The goat just looked at me as if to say “no worries, dude. I’ve been through worse.”
Then Monki went after the other little boy in the area. Thankfully, she didn’t grab his ear, but instead, petted his hair. Since he was about her age, or maybe a little older, he was cool with it. They had their moment then moved on. We continued around (where I learned about a really cool critter called the Fossa which, if I ever find the time to write creatively again, will certainly feature in some future story).
We wandered around, saw the family from time to time, saw some animals and then decided to have some lunch, and that was when we hit the first trouble of the trip. Something was wrong with Monki. Her eye had swollen up, a rash was developing on her face and arms and she looked miserable. We immediately rushed to the first aid/baby center and screamed at the guy working behind the desk while simultaneously thrusting our baby forward: “Fix her!”
He calmly looked at her and said one word: “Sunscreen.”
It was an allergic reaction to sunscreen. See, those bastards at one of the airports we were flying through to get to the US had thrown out our expensive, hypo-allergenic sunscreen as a “security” precaution so we had bought a new bottle which we had hoped would be about the same. Evidently, we were wrong. But this guy wasn’t even the doctor, he was the medic. The doctor walked in a few minutes later, and looked at Monki from across the room: “Sunscreen?” he asked. Our guy nodded. “We see a few cases a day,” the doctor explained. “Nothing to worry about.”
We washed her good, got the goop off, and she started getting better almost immediately. So we plopped her back into her stroller and continued on trying to see the animals. Eventually we took the bus tour and ran into the family again at the end of it. Then they went off to see some things, we went off to see some things, and mom went off to FaceTime her Cantor and practice for her Bat Mitzvah, which is the reason we were in the US to begin with.
As the day began to wind down, Rasa realized she was cold… and Monki needed a hat which wasn’t designed for snow. We headed to the gift shop to take care of both these issues, grabbing a snazzy “Zoo” labeled hoodie for Rasa and a cute hat with little animals for Monki.
Finally though, before leaving, we did come across the really cool, full body animal puppets, which Monki interacted with almost as much as the costumed characters. Then it was home and bed. Thursday had more adventures awaiting.