When we made our plans, a couple of weeks ago, for J’s comp day, we had no notion that it would be almost 80 degrees. In March. In the Midwest. I thought we might go to an indoor children’s museum, because the weather was bound to be cool and probably gloomy to boot. Instead, when this glorious day dawned, we knew we were going to the zoo.

Toward the end of our tour, C asked to go see “the white lion” again. We duly walked back to the lion exhibit where the great cats were taking their ease together in the sun, but C only favored them with a glance and a nod. When we were once again on the other side of the zoo, he repeated his request. Eventually it dawned on us that he was talking about the white marble lions. So if you ask him to tell you his favorite animals at the zoo, he will say, “The meerkats and the white lions.”

While B was lobbying to avoid one of the indoor exhibits (he’s terrified by the dim entrances), C happily perched himself in a nearby tree. (We were reduced to bribery: they bravely went through three indoor exhibits in exchange for new matchbox cars at Target. It was worth it. Next time I’m hoping to persuade them to go in the Pachyderm House. And I think J may have secured a promise to visit the monkeys. Last year the monkeys–who were just minding their own monkey business and scratching each other’s backs–proved utterly horrifying to the boys. We are trying to grow their courage by degrees this year.)

Contemplating the camels.

Great. The paparazzi have arrived.

Grit your teeth and bear it.

Consulting the map with Daddy.

B loved the zebra. And the white lions, naturally.

Getting a better view.

I love this girl.

A little lunch before leaving.

The young fry came back bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Daddy and Mama came back exhausted, with headaches. But it was lovely for all of us–an idyll in the middle of our ordinary life and usual weather.