"But I don't like the zoo!" protests Maya in one of her last utterances before sleep on Friday night.

She got as far as the bedroom doorway after being woken for Saturday morning ballet class before starting to cry because she does not like the zoo!

"You made a deal," we explain in a conversation that is not just a little bit surreal over the morning bathroom visit. (Who are these cruel parents?) "We went to the Playseum yesterday, so today we are going to the zoo."

She had made a deal.

Mac and I picked Maya up from school on Friday afternoon, swim-gear in hand, with the plan to head to one of the local public pools for the afternoon. Maya had a different agenda.

"No, I want to go to the Playseum. Please!" she pleaded. "But the pool will be closed all weekend (love budget furloughs) and if we go to the Playseum tomorrow, we can spend much more time there," we countered. Maya was not swayed by this logic.

After much discussion, agreement was reached that, because we were only going to do one spend-money activity this weekend (that I do love about DC), if we went to the Playseum Friday afternoon, our Saturday activity would be the zoo. Maya was very pleased with this deal, until bedtime.

The mood did turn around on Saturday morning when Maya thought of something: "Can I have a treat at the zoo?" "I think we can arrange that." "Popcorn. I want popcorn."

Other than unseasonably warm weather on a holiday weekend bringing out more visitors than the zoo's off-season concession staffing scenario could reasonably handle, all went well. Maya remained fixated on popcorn, but appeared to like the anemones in the invertebrate house and the touchable-things in the Amazon house1. The  dissected frog preserved-in-acrylic was a big hit.

"I just realized something!" she exclaimed as we began the uphill trek from the Amazon house toward home. "When I die, they can put me in the exhibit. But, then I won't be able to see it. I want to see my brain!"

Since we couldn't solve that dilema for her, we decided to look up some pictures of bodies and brains on the computer2. As usual, we made it her job to remind us when we got home. "Daddy, write it on your hand so we won't forget."

Part of our bedtime routine is to ask Maya to recap the best parts of her day: "Eating popcorn." "Anything else?" "Playing in the gopher holes3 and the giant pizza, but not when it was time to leave."

Ode to an olive.


1) The lack of hands-on exhibits is probably the root of Maya's zoo aversion.
2) These pictures from the Bodies exhibit met Maya's criteria. I was a bit hesitant to do a web search on this one since I couldn't think of search terms off hand that would give me what I wanted without a lot of what I didn't.
3) Prairie Dogs actually.