We have a little additional room to our home that, I believe, the original owner used as a sewing room. It’s connected to our kitchen and drops down a few steps lower. We knew instantly that we’d use this as a playroom for the girls. This has proven to be a good decision. Small children are not easy to contain for a long period and having a centralized location for the chaos helps. However, the space ends up having a life all its own. I have come to think of this room as the Zoo. Let me explain the source of the name.
1) The view from the outside
There is a small railing along the lip of the room and the small stairs. We also installed a baby gate, primarily for Zoe containment since Phoebe is able open the door. So when I am sitting at the kitchen table looking in on them, it kind of seems like bars are holding them in. A giant baby cage, if you will.
2) Crazy monkeys
Small children have many things in common with monkeys that got into the jar of sugar someone inexplicably left alone. They all make a lot of noise. They are constantly demanding food. Objects will often get thrown about. Anything that can end up in their mouths, WILL end up in their mouths. There is occasionally poop. To give my children credit, I am pretty sure they smell better (usually) and are easier to ultimately calm down than the monkeys would be. This is an assumption. I don’t hang out with many monkeys in my day-to-day, so I can’t test the hypothesis.
3) Visiting the exhibit
My girls are quite fortunate to have a few people, particularly grandparents, who really love them. We also have some friends who pop in for the occasional visit. When these various people come by, it really does feel a bit like a few tourists came in to the zoo. Specifically, it becomes a kind of petting zoo. People will go in the playroom to hang out with the girls. They will play with Phoebe and Zoe. Sometimes it is at their own risk. My kids may have been eating something sticky. You also have to be mindful of the aforementioned baby gate, lest Zoe run off and try to drop things in the toilet. We have one friend, whom I absolutely adore, that consistently struggles with anything child-proof despite the fact that she’s one of the smartest people I know. So the baby gate can trip up even the most intrepid house guest/tourist.
4) David Attenborough
This doesn’t quite fit the whole “playroom as a zoo” thing I’ve got going. However, I’d be lying if I said watching my kids just interact with their environment didn’t make me feel like David Attenborough narrating The Life of Mammals. Even though I’m not British.
So the children spend a good part of their day in the Zoo. And so does daddy. I guess at the end of the day, that makes me less of a zookeeper and more part their society. Or maybe part of the habitat. Usually the climbing portion. I can live with that.