Tag Archives: day in the life

Back on Schedule

back_on_sheduleWell, we survived our first week back from three weeks off and have already begun the next. Keana and Maia were quite excited to be back at school which I’m always thankful for. Being back at work was pretty easy too since there was no lack of things to do which kept the tim flying. I also took a work trip to Berkeley for a couple days, so that made the week go by even quicker but also made it feel particularly hectic.

love coming back from vacation and having a long weekend too. We took advantage of the extra time to rest up and have some fun. I (finally) installed some training wheels on Keana’s bike while she played at Iana’s house and Maia had a playdate with a friend from school. I had resisted training wheels because I know how much Keana struggles with change, and I worried that she would be the only kid in her junior high still riding with them on. I realized my foolishness though and put them on hoping that it would make it more fun for her to at least be a little independent while she gets used to this bigger bike. Although I had a little trouble loosening up while instructing her on how to ride on the road with cars, we eventually had a lot of fun cruising around the neighborhood together. I have to fight that 1950s-style-dad that’s embedded in me somewhere that says, “If you’re gonna learn something, learn it right the first time dammit! I don’t care if it’s not fun at first. Learn it right and it will be fun!” Anyway, I was really proud of her for not freaking out when cars came by and not panicking under pressure. She even had a brush with an accident but somehow saved herself from completely tipping over on a particularly sloped street. Even after that, she had no problem straightening out and getting back on the road. Now she’s begging to ride every chance she gets.

And yes, Maia had her first playdate with a friend from school. She had had playdates with shared friends with Keana, but this was her first having someone over own her own. He’s this little guy from up the street, who’s a little younger than her, and really sweet. They had a lot of fun together building with blocks, running around in the backyard, and generally just being silly together. Maia is really maturing quickly it seems and she’s just a lot of fun to watch. She’s even been having some success sleeping on her own through the night, so we can sort of see some light at the end of the tunnel with things she’s struggled with up until this point.

This morning Aliya was really surprising me with her aggressiveness. It’s not a bad aggressive, really, she’s just more physical than the other two were at her age. She leaps with reckless abandon across bodies on the bed, not thinking a bit about where she’ll land or who she’ll land on. This is particularly exciting when waking up, first thing in the morning. She’s also found it quite funny to smack people lately and we’ve really had to put the lid on this, especially since it kind of stings for me as an adult, so on the kids, it’s pretty painful. It’s tough though, because out of nowhere she’ll just slap the top of your head with surprising force, and it makes me laugh which of course just makes her want to do it more. Also, this morning I ran into the girls room to sneak a little peace and closed the door, which is very hard to open. I flopped on their bed and I could hear Keana and Aliya banging on it and trying to pry it open, then I heard Keana walk away. Aliya didn’t give up though and with a final bang, busted it open as Keana squealed with delight, “Babe-in got the door open all by herself!” Aliya burst in, crawled up on the bed, and body slammed me, giggling the whole time. I love that girl’s fire.

And now they’re all asleep. Phew. And Keana seems to be coming down with a fever and has sore leg muscles from riding her bike, so she’s pretty uncomfortable. I just pray it’s something we’ve already had because after spending half of December and January with sick kids, I am not ready for another round. Now when’s the next three-day weekend?

To the Snow!

Papa and His Snow MonkeysWell, it wasn’t easy, but we did it. And we brought Tia and Cousin Olivia with us. After a night and morning scrambling to acquire snow gear and pack it, our caravan headed up to Shaver Lake to play in the snow.

We weren’t exactly sure where to go, but luckily Sarah remembered there was a snow park up the hill from the lake. Just when we thought we had gone too far, it appeared. The only catch was that we didn’t buy snow park permits when we were in town. We considered rolling the dice, but decided the $94.50 fine was too much to gamble with. (And yes, where the hell do you come up with a fine of that value? $94.50? Not $90 or $95. So. Silly.) So I ran back to town to get our $5 permits so we could play without worry.

In general, the kids had a blast. I think Aliya had a little sledding wipeout with Sarah that made her a little weary of the snow, but she was also tired. In fact, she fell asleep in Sarah’s arms and they hung out under a pine tree while we played. Keana and Maia handled a little hill on their own, helping each other up it and sailing down with Maia in front (see video below). When I got back from getting our permits, I took Maia and Keana on a bigger hill and had so much fun sledding with them. Now that they’re older we can do more daring things, which I love. And to be out in the crisp, fresh air, surrounded by beautiful, snowy scenery—it was really what this vacation needed.


Keana at Bass Lake, Christmas Break 2012-13One of the hardest parts of being a parent is acceptance. Before getting there, I’ve found myself trying and trying, over and over, to control or change the outcome of everything from the daily schedule to who eats what, when. And every time I try to control, I fail miserably. And it’s tough as a parent because on the one hand you sort of have to provide this safe infrastructure for your kids to thrive, but on the other hand, you have to just let go and let them be. Not my strong suit, but I’m learning.

This vacation has been another great example. There have been many days of the last two weeks we’ve had off when Sarah and I have looked at each other and said, “Is this really a vacation?” We found ourselves coming into it emotionally and physically exhausted from all that followed my uncle’s sudden death, and on top of all that, the kids have been on a rotating wheel of sickness. We think it’s been two different viruses: the first with a sore throat and runny nose, the second starting with a barking cough, followed by insane amounts of mucus. Lovely, yes? It has definitely made it difficult to go out and do fun things and has seriously limited some of the fun visits with friends we hoped to have had by this point.

Some of the things we’ve enjoyed though are more leisurely mornings, the magic and wonder of Christmas for the girls, lots of great food, some visits with family, and of course the endless moments of pure cuteness that are just part of the territory with youngsters. Aliya’s definitely changing from a toddler to a little kid, losing much of her baby fat and slimming down to a spritely little sparkplug. She continues to be a huge mischief maker, often denying verbally what she’s doing physically. “I’m not climbing on the table,” as she has a leg up to climb on the table. All the time inside with her sisters has allowed her to work out any remaining kinks in her “I am mad as hell and will eff you up” face. Seriously. For a two-year-old, she’s got a mean mug. She also throws a decent punch for the smallest member of Team Hokama, something her older sisters don’t really do much. Of course she’s mostly bubbles and cookies, but she will throw down if necessary. We’re especially going to miss those last vestiges of baby talk and behavior. For examples:

  • Saying with pure excitement, “It’s Chissmass!”
  • “My kitty! My kitty!” as she chases Fluffy around the house, trying to hug and lay on her.
  • After turning out the lights for bed time saying, “I can’t see my eyes…I can’t see my nose…”
  • As she hugs Sarah, “You’re my best friend.”
  • A new one I just noticed today, “Jus’ a minute,” as she continues to play when you’ve asked her to do something else.
  • Last but not least, a hold over from Halloween, every time she sees a pumpkin she calls it “my pumpkin patch!”

Maia is definitely changing too, maturing daily, and even gaining some muscle weight. On some levels, she’s getting more reasonable—with eating and sleeping for example—but she still struggles with both. Being sick has made sleep especially hard because her runny nose and coughing has been driving her nuts in the middle of the night, which we can’t really fault her for. Now that the sickness is tapering off though, we’re happy we set up those appointments to see an occupational therapist to work with her on some of her sensory issues. They seem to think 6 appointments, every other week, should dramatically help her deal with being hyper-sensitive to stimulus, like clothes that don’t fit a certain way, being distracted at meal time, etc. She and Aliya continue to have a blast playing together, often playing with each other while Keana’s off in her own fantasy world. I love hearing her shout, “C’mon Babe-in!” followed by an, “Okay Maia!” and two sets of footsteps sprinting off to the next play station. But Maia definitely still enjoys playing with Keana too, taking full advantage of having her sister home full time for the break. Their ability to play together also shows how fast Maia’s growing up, especially since Keana is getting older by the hour it seems.

And what a delight it is to have our Zooba home. She’s really been missing her social outlets, but still gets lost playing endlessly with her toys and paper dolls. This was the first Christmas she’s really enjoyed building Legos together and I can’t say that bothered me in the least. She doesn’t really need help, but likes to have someone there with her to chat with while she works. We finished the first Harry Potter book together at the beginning of the break and are halfway through The Chamber of Secrets. It’s my first time reading them too and I’m thoroughly enjoying being excited about a story with her. This second book though is about at the maturity threshold I’m comfortable with, so we’ll be taking a break from Potter soon. But Keana’s comprehension of more complex life stuff and her ability to communicate it, are really giving us a preview of what’s to come. More and more we can converse like equals and I have to explain less and less. A really fun side effect of Keana’s maturing is her deepening sense of humor. She understands a lot more humor and is really starting to get sarcasm as well.

We did take a somewhat spontaneous trip up to Bass Lake today and even found a little patch of leftover snow on the shore to play in. We didn’t stay long due to threatening clouds, but still, it was good to get out and do something different. We saw one rainbow while we were there and another on the way back. Maia had fallen asleep but once Aliya spotted it, she started yelling, “Maia! Maia! A rainbow! Look!” I responded, “Shhhh, Aliya. You’re going to wake her up.” To which a groggy Maia replied, “She already did.”

We have one more week of vacation left but I already feel the tightening grip of responsibilities and schedules. Even when there’s no school or work-work, there’s always keeping the house in order, appointments, laundry, and the seemingly endless chore of feeding these munchkins. It really is all about acceptance and maybe someday I’ll stop fighting it. Keana reminded me just last week (after I released what I guess was a really long sigh), “Well Papa, this is the life you chose. Are you going to make breakfast now?” And there you have it.

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Don’t Have Kids

Don’t have kids if you’re not ready to not be ready
or if you want to be in control or
if you don’t want to be completely swept off your feet.

Don’t have kids if you’re not ready to let go of your life
and create a new one, and
if you’re not ready to say I’ve been tired for 7 years
but I’m good.

Don’t have kids if you don’t think you can hold another person as long as it takes
And don’t have kids if you’re not ready to clean vomit off a cat or
sleep on the floor or wonder when it is, exactly, that people learn to blow their own nose.

Don’t have kids if you’re not ready for more screaming and crying
than you’ve heard in your entire life, and
don’t have kids if you’re not ready for squeals of delight
when you walk through the door.

Don’t have kids if you’re not ready to do everything you know how
and still not have it be enough, but also, please,
don’t have kids if you’re not ready for a tiny face to be entranced
by everything you take for granted.

Don’t have kids if you’re not ready to carry someone until it hurts
or feel like the world’s strongest person for doing so.
And don’t have kids if you’re not ready to nurture the most fragile
and resilient thing you’ve ever known.

Don’t have kids if you think eating is easy, or
if you’re not ready to give up your cinnamon roll
because you can’t say no.

Don’t have kids if you like quiet car rides
or quick trips to anywhere.
And don’t have kids if you’re not ready
to lose track of time.

Don’t have kids if you don’t have room,
they don’t deserve that.
And don’t have kids if you don’t want another shadow
(or 40,000 pictures of that shadow)

And don’t have kids if you’re not ready to give
everything you’ve got, every single day, or
if you’re not ready to be annoyed at people saying
“it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love”
(because they’ll be right)

Don’t have kids if you think you’re ready for all this;
I can tell you, you aren’t.
And don’t have kids if you don’t want to end up writing something like this,
or sit here smiling, laughing, and crying at the end.

One of Those Days

Man, it has been a day. All was going pretty good at first: Keana got off to school happy and on time, and even though Maia had a sore throat, she insisted on going to school too. Cousin Olivia was over this morning playing with Aliya, and while each of them had separate falls that brought them to tears, they had an excellent morning playing with each other and being, as Sarah puts it, “turkeys”.

Maia, Aliya, and Sarah headed off to a cranial sacral appointment for Maia in the afternoon, and not long after they left, Sarah called and said the school called her and Keana had hit her head. It was a little unclear what exactly happened—she was conscious and wasn’t bleeding—but I needed to deal with it since Sarah was busy. So I called the school and talked to Keana and they said she had a pretty good-sized knot on her forehead. I explained we only have one car and I didn’t have it, so it would take me about 20 minutes to walk there (Keana’s school is 1.2 miles from our house). The office lady said that was fine, so I headed out. Nothing like walking to get an injured child from school in 100 degree heat.

They were right, the knot on Keana’s head was huge. Apparently she was playing tag and running for “safe” (a tree), tripped on the root and nailed her forehead at the hairline, square against the trunk. Yeah, ouch. I made sure she could see, wasn’t dizzy, didn’t feel sick, etc. and we headed out, on foot, back into the 100 degrees.

It was a good walk, considering the circumstances, and I carried her for a block here and there. I was a little worried about her overdoing it in the heat with that kind of lump on her head.

Then, I cooked a horrible dinner. I mean, it was edible, but the meat was tough (honestly, a rarity for me), the greens were burned, and it just generally sucked. Sarah had something to go to, so I got the kids ready for bed on my own. It was at this point I realized I had worn my shirt inside out most of the day, tag sticking out on the back of the neck and everything. Awesome…had to laugh though. I finally wrangled Keana and Aliya in bed, and Maia’s nose started running and she can not deal. I tried everything I could think of and finally had to just sit in the room with her and work on the laptop until she fell asleep. Phew.

I had just enough time to catch the bottom if the 9th inning of the Giants’ game against the Astros, when Maia started crying out. It’s 8:30 and I had been dealing with bed time for about two hours at this point. Oy. Sarah arrived though and got Maia back to sleep, only to have her wake up again at 9:54. Poor thing doesn’t feel good and I had to catch myself trying to analyze the problem and go down “a list” to solve it. I know that won’t work, but it’s a go-to “dad thing” of mine that I’m trying to quit. Once again Sarah had to step in and be the gentle care-giver.

It’s quiet now but I know that doesn’t mean shit with sick/injured little ones. I’m really focusing on having no fear and no hope (or expectations) for the night (and beyond). It’s just been one of those days and writing it out here has made it all a little better and put me back in alignment.


I thought I’d try something a little different to paint a picture of the life and times of Team Hokama. I wrote this for National Poetry Month, but figured it was almost more at home here.

Woke up in the mornin’ not ready at all
Doesn’t really matter ’cause it’s not your call
Three little mouths to feed, ready to play
“Wake up Papa, what’re we doin’ today?”

Got 9 scoops in, brewin’ away
Got a million songs, but nothin’ to say
Even with the music on it’s all up hill
Just keep on cookin’, got those stomachs to fill

Papa’s in the yard blowin’, metal to mouth
Water’s drippin’ from a leaky spout
Kids are paintin’, baby’s in the pool
Papa’s wound tight on an empty spool

Breakfast’s done but now Mama’s gotta go
Baby’s cryin’ and tears start to flow
Papa says, “Baby she’ll be back”
Round and round, same old track

But the sun shines down it’s a beautiful day
Papa takes a breath and begins to play
Paint coats the paper, table, and skin
The water’s cool and clear, and baby jumps in

Papa’s in the yard blowin’, metal to mouth
Water’s drippin’ from a leaky spout
Kids are paintin’, baby’s in the pool
Papa’s wound tight on an empty spool

Time to lift that weight, gotta stay strong
Children are happy, gettin’ along
Sweat and struggle, muscle and steel
Laugh and cry, and shoulder that wheel

So that was today, tomorrow will follow
Wasn’t ready now it’s over, sometimes hard to swallow
Tryin’ to let go of mistakes and blame
Over and over, different and the same

Papa’s in the yard blowin’, metal to mouth
Water’s drippin’ from a leaky spout
Kids are paintin’, baby’s in the pool
Papa’s wound tight on an empty spool

A slice of life

Last week we went back up to North Fork and had a great time at Willow Creek (which is just down the dirt road from Sarah’s dad’s house) and Bass Lake. Of course we met some more…how should I say…flavorful locals there; in fact we do every time. I mean, I’m open minded, but you really can’t make these people up. They belong in a Cohen brothers movie. But the day at Bass Lake was great and Keana and Maia had a blast playing in the lake and mud, building castles and pretending to claw their way back onto the beach, trying to escape a shark or monster. The motor boats made nice waves so we could almost imagine being at the beach. Almost.

And today was a powerhouse day for Team Hokama. I returned to work after six glorious (minus the whole hospital part) weeks off. The morning began at 5:45 a.m. when Maia decided it was time to wake up. She was hungry, so I got up and fed her toast and milk. I contemplated scheming a way to lay back down, but decided I needed to get used to getting up early now that I was back working and early school days were looming a mere two weeks away. Keana got up a little later at 6:30 a.m., and as they watched Diego on the Roku, I got ready. When I got out of the shower I was greeted by a talking Aliya, babbling away on the bed while Sarah tried to sleep a little longer. Her little coos and peeps are amazing and once again we get to witness the beginnings of speech and formal communication; a privilege indeed.

Throughout the day Maia and Keana really played well with each other. They played chasing games, dressed up dolls, staged various interactions with the dolls, had a stint outside with the kiddy pool, and even had some quiet time (where they basically tore their rooms apart in imaginary play before settling down). I was able to get quite a bit of work done and so was Sarah, amazingly enough. When Aliya would stand being set down or was asleep, Sarah would catch up on the laundry or some other organizing project. Working at home allowed me to make all the meals for the day and waking up so early also allowed me to go for a run and get a jump on the dishes too. The day-to-day stuff to keep the house even a bearable mess is unbelievable.

Tonight while I was barbecuing Keana kept me company outside telling me the story of how her child was born. She was pretending to be Lothina the hunchback, Lothar’s daughter. Lothar is a crazy hunchback character I play where I pull my shirt over my head and limp around like a hunchback chasing the kids with a crazy accent. The kids love Lothar so much that Keana decided to model a character herself after him. She doesn’t have a hunch, but she’s still a hunchback and her name is Lothina. Anyway, her daughter’s birth story was exactly like Aliya’s except when she got to the hospital, her baby flew out of the incision because she was so light and the people in the room had to catch her. Then she had to go to another hospital to be cared for, just like Aliya. It was really good to hear Keana processing everything and it was definitely one of the most enjoyable, but heavy, burger cookings I’ve had.

Of course bath/bedtime was shear mayhem. I wrangled Keana and Maia into the bath and as they played, hustled some garbage outing and backyard clean up. Then I held Aliya as she slept while Sarah got teeth brushed and started story time. As Aliya slept I explained that her sisters are Masters of Mayhem and I’m sure she’ll be a part of it soon enough. Then as Sarah put Maia to bed, I continued a story I’ve been making up for Keana. I started it up in North Fork when we forgot her book, and she’s been requesting it several times a day since. Basically I’ve been combining pieces of The Princess Bride and The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings. For shorter stories I just throw in “a day in the life of the princess” where she meets wild animals or learns how to make a chariot to be flown by giant eagles. You know, usual story stuff that papas come up with. It truly makes my day to see how into it she is and to look over and see her hanging on my every word during a tense part or to see her smile and laugh at some ridiculous part.

Anyway, now Aliya’s asleep on the couch as I type this and Sarah’s back in the bedroom doing stretches. What a day. I’ve been off so long that I had an “oh shit” moment earlier tonight when I realized that I still had to work tomorrow. Guess it all starts over in mere hours and though the general structure might be the same tomorrow, one can never guess the amazing things these crazy kids will come up with. Looking forward to it.


Yesterday Sarah and Keana were still napping in the back bedroom, and Maia was playing in the kitchen while I worked at the table. After a good amount of time with a bowl full of bubbles, washing her plastic puppies and Keana’s princesses, she came up to me and said, “I want a cookie Papa.” I thought for a moment and decided against the usual reply. “Okay,” I said with a shrug. “How about some milk too?” to which she replied, squealing, “Yaaaay!” Anyway, like Snow White being awakened by a magic kiss, so too was Keana lured from what I thought was a dead-sleep, by the word “cookie”. I heard footsteps down the hall and Keana entered saying, “I want one too!”. So I set the girls up on the bench at the table, and they silently enjoyed their rare, special afternoon treat. As I continued to work, I could hear their little crunchings, followed by slurping of milk, and could feel the contentment in the room. In fact Keana was content to just count her blessings, but Maia…not so much. “Another cookie, Papa?” she asked. Keana looks up excitedly quiet with questioning eyes. I could just hear her mind saying, “No! She did it! Maia actually asked for another cookie. Unexpected, but maybe he’ll do it? Two cookies!!!??? I’m going to lose my MIND!” I looked at Maia’s chocolate chip covered mouth and just couldn’t resist. “Okay,” I said with a shrug. Both girls screamed with excitement.

It hadn’t been ten minutes after they finished their unprecedented afternoon snack when Maia says, “Petziles?” I say, “What’s that?”. She repeats louder, “PETZILES!” and I say, “Ohhhh, pretzels?” and she says, “NOOOOO, PETZICLES!” and I say, “Ohhhh, popsicles?” and she says, “Yeah! Yeah! POPSICLES!” This time I simply reply, “Nooo, no popsicles. You just had a special treat.” and Maia says, “Ohhh” with the “o” trailing down sadly in a disappointed way. She let’s it go for a minute then approaches Keana. “Sissy, popsicle?” and Keana says, “No Maia, we can’t have them now.” Maia walks over to the freezer and yanks on the handle futily. Keana goes over and says, “Oh, you want to just see them? They’re in there.” and she opens the freezer for Maia. Maia pulls out the popsicle and goes to work on the plastic wrapper. I’m watching the whole thing, just sitting there, like a naturalist observing animals in the wild, and I’m thinking, “If any two-year-old can get that wrapper open, it’s Maia.” I look at Keana and I can almost hear her thinking, “She did it! She couldn’t open the freezer, I did that, but I wouldn’t have gone against Papa’s wishes so blatantly after already receiving such a historic afternoon snack as TWO CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES! But if any kid can open that popsicle, it’s Maia, and I’m going to just sit back and wait patiently for Papa to cave in again.”

Rip. Popsicle is free. Keana and Maia look up at me quietly excited, waiting to see how I respond.

“Okay,” I say with a shrug. I set to work dividing it equally into bowls to minimize the sticky that’s bound to get everywhere. Just then, Sarah walks into the kitchen and gives me that knowing smile. I can almost hear her thinking, “Oh Papa. You’re such a softy.” And she didn’t’ even know about the cookies yet.

Truth is, I wasn’t exactly soft. I mean, I made a conscious decision not to say “no”, not because I couldn’t, but because I figured “what the hell?”. That’s not soft, right?

Muir Beach in November

The little ones were restless this morning. At first I wasn’t sure whether they needed to get outside for an adventure or just take it easy indoors. Sarah convinced me the outdoors was what we needed so, it being a beautiful day, we headed to the beach.

Keana requested “Rock ‘n’ roll!” and Maia fell asleep immediately. It was smooth sailing to Muir Beach (our favorite). Indeed, it was warm and beautiful and we could hardly believe that it was November. Apparently everyone else was on the same page because the beach was quite busy, even before noon. We found our spot and the girls quickly dug into the sand, Keana making a castle and Maia just enjoying picking up the sand, squeezing it through her fingers, and releasing.

The waves were amazing today, some of them reaching nearly six feet just several yards offshore. The water had a tendency to suddenly slap against the shore, making an interesting, and loud, sound. Maia was fearless and headed straight to the water, pointing like a general leading her troops, onward. Keana loved the water too, but also loves to run from the waves, laughing with delight at her physical prowess.

We took short breaks going back to the blanket for snacks and little rests, then returning to the waves for more silly games. Around 2:30 p.m. we wrapped it up and headed back to the car. Both girls were covered in sand, and Keana wore my shirt and her pink, sparkley, cat-eye, sunglasses, looking like a midget Hollywood princess. On the winding road home, both Keana and Maia fell asleep and Sarah and I enjoyed a little conversation with the iPod/radio producing everything from Billy Joel to The Rolling Stones to Modest Mouse.

To the zoo Super Keana!

Today, Keana and I went to the zoo. Sarah and Maia were in Santa Cruz for Iana’s bachelorette party, so we took advantage of our small-number-mobility. I had been talking to Keana about this for a week, so when I saw it was raining this morning, I was a little worried the zoo would be closed and there would be some sadness. But we headed out anyway and found Oakland cloudy, but dry. As we pulled into the parking lot, both Keana and I were super-excited.

Once we paid and entered, I could tell Keana was so excited that she didn’t know where to begin. “I want to ride the tiger [merry-go-round]!” and “I want to see the elephants!” then “Where are the alligators?!” So we got out the map and set off. First we visited the elephants who where enjoying their mid-morning snack. I guess this made Keana hungry too, so busted out our crackers, string cheese, and water and sat on the benches enjoying the company of the elephants.

Then we headed down to the “African Village” where we saw meerkats, green monkeys, lizards, and snakes. On the way we also saw the lions- which were really loud actually- tigers, and giraffes. I must say, she was more interested in sitting under the awning of the picnic area having more snacks and watching the people, rather than animals. But I convinced her to trudge on, and she was pretty excited to see the other monkeys swinging around and screaming.

It wasn’t long before the rides came up again. The Oakland Zoo has a modest ride section, perfect for little kids, and Keana had ridden on the merry-go-round on a previous visit, and wanted to go back. So on the way to the ride area we did drive-by-viewings some bird exhibits and other animals, much too fast to really appreciate, but I reminded myself, “Hey, she’s only three. Let’s go ride the train!”

On the merry-go-round Keana rode the tiger. I think it was a little scary but she held on and eventually got into it. She didn’t even need me holding on to her, but her hand must have been numb from holding on so tight. I must admit, that ride ended just in time for me. I guess I still don’t like rides that go around in circles.

Then we rode the race cars and Keana chose the gold, sparkly sports car. She was the only one on the ride- luckily I was too big to go- and she had a blast. The first couple times around she smiled at the ride attendant and me, then proceeded to sing songs and narrate her little adventure to herself. She even steered in the right direction! After race cars we went on the train that takes you around a small part of the park and around this little hill with a great view. After the train ride Keana just had to ride the race cars again, so I indulged. We had been at the zoo for a couple hours so it was time to pack it up and head out to lunch. One last stop at the gift shop yielded “sister lizards”, one for Keana and one for Maia.

The trip to the zoo was a blast. It’s so fun reliving childhood and experiencing these things with your own kids for their first time. Fun fun.