The Jungle Island Saved My Sanity Today

Img_2588_3So, this is not your typical school story, I admit. BUT, it is related to school. After all, my girls had a day off from school because of Veteran’s Day and I, like many other moms scrambling for ways to entertain their kids in the middle of the week, headed to The Jungle Island in San Jose. I’d been there a couple times before with girls in tow for birthday parties. To be honest, it’s never been my kind of place to take the girls only because I’m not really into the game machines, nor does “L” like to climb around the multi-level play structure or venture through the tunnels. And after 5 hours there today, I’ve completely and totally changed my mind.

Perhaps it’s an age thing. At 4 1/2 years old, the girls can easily entertain themselves, especially with several classmates around. And we moms become somewhat superfluous in the midst of all the things there are to do. I was quite happy that I actually got to sit down and chat with my mom friends. We got to know each other last year at various school activities when all our children were in class together. And this year, while they’re not in the same class, we still manage to socialize after school when our kids want to play for a bit before heading home. None of us are willing to pass up such opportunities to have our kids run off some energy before settling down at home.

So, in addition to the chance to really hang out with other moms, it was a big day for “L”. She conquered her fear and joined the other kids in climbing up the various levels of the play structure and crawling through the tunnels. It only took 4 hours for her to build up enough courage to do it but she did it and that’s all that counts in my book. She was very proud of herself and so was I.

The game machines? Well, I let my inner child take over and played the hoops game. I didn’t score as well as “K” but that’s OK. It was fun to “be a kid” again…something we don’t often take the chance to do. But what really got me going was finding ways for the girls to collect as many green tickets (that turn into prizes later) as they could. And we got lucky.

“L” had just finished playing a game and scored quite well. When we excitedly looked down, no tickets came out of the hole. Huh? Well, the mama-lion in me couldn’t just ignore it and move on to another game. So, I searched for an attendant who very kindly fixed the machine. And wow. We hit the jackpot! The tickets started coming out and didn’t stop…until we had quite a mountain and well…I’m pretty certain we didn’t earn all those tickets. I mean, “L”‘s score was respectable but not off the charts. I suspected that other kids may have played that particular game and when the tickets didn’t come out, shrugged it off and moved on. So, there may have been a bit of a buildup. Whoooooeeeeeeeeeee for the girls! It was our biggest ticket collection ever!

Usually, the ticket counting and prize collection would have signaled our time to go home. BUT the girls spied an open door…to the outside sandbox. Oh well. The amazing thing was that I had just been thinking it was time for the girls to play outside after being entertained indoors for most of the day. So, I didn’t protest their newfound discovery and let them play in the sandbox for an hour.

By the time we left, it was already past 4:00pm. I couldn’t believe it. We’d just whiled the entire day away at The Jungle Island. I honestly didn’t think I had the patience nor did I think the girls would find many things to keep them busy. What was I thinking? ANYway, I am no longer opposed to such places. Certainly other moms may find the cleanliness of such places suspect but hey, if it keeps my kids active and happy for a day, I’m certainly not one to complain.

An original It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog post. MommyTwinGirls can also be found at Solheim Photography posting favorites from her latest photo shoots, recounting the joys and challenges of raising twins on Mad About Multiples and contributing stories of her foibles and triumphs in mommyhood at Silicon Valley Moms Blog.

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