Getting yanked out of a rut by my preschooler | Toddling Through the Silicon Valley | Cheryl Bac | Palo Alto Online |

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By Cheryl Bac

Getting yanked out of a rut by my preschooler

Uploaded: Aug 4, 2015

Like many Bay Area families, we've been to the San Francisco Zoo numerous times. I usually give my son the map and he leads us down the same general loop. Our trips all end up pretty similar.

During our last visit, I wasn't especially excited about going to the zoo. I felt like this outing was going to be just like the previous one. And the one before that. And the one before that.

Luckily, about a third of the way into our day, my son spotted the new South American Tropical Rainforest & Aviary and "Water's Extreme Journey" maze. I honestly almost walked right by these two exhibits. I pessimistically expected the rainforest to be too humid and hot and for the maze to require too much reading for a preschooler. Luckily, my son was more optimistic and insisted that we step in. I'm glad he did. The maze turned out to be a fun interactive game that my son enjoyed running through. That change in our routine was just what I needed to get out of my rut and enjoy our day.

As parents, frequent outings can become repetitive. And when you are stuck in a rut, sometimes you don't know exactly what will get you out of it. Usually I schedule a non-parenting activity - plan a date night, check out a new store, watch a movie, or go for a run to brighten my mood. I typically assume that I just need a break from my regular parenting routine. But this time my son reminded me that sometimes I don't need a break from parenting at all. Sometimes I can turn to him and his childhood optimism to turn my day around.

Has your family checked out these new exhibits at the San Francisco Zoo yet?