I've mentioned before that it's perhaps best not to get our expectations up too high when it comes to taking our daughter to try new things---while we often expect that she'll react one way (aka, with unbridled enthusiasm and excitement), she often has the opposite reaction of what we'd want (fear, anxiety, trepidation, uncertainty).
And it's good to remind ourselves that to us, these things are exciting because we've experienced them before and know them to be fun and good and different than our usual routine.
For her, though, the first time trying something means going through all that anxiety and fear and uncertainty that most of us face while doing something new.
If you've been a longtime reader and have an unbelievably good memory, you might remember that Raven's experience last year with Baby Animal Days was not exactly magic and rainbows and unicorns (or, as it were, baby horses). For most of the day, she had her thumb planted firmly in her mouth and looked around at all the people and all the animals with definite wariness.
However, I'm just now starting to learn that it's often on the second or third time of trying something that those expectations of fun and excitement (and then some) are met, and so it was with lots of smiles and happy memories that we came home this year from our trip down to the American West Heritage Center.
This year, not only did she get excited upon seeing the animals (especially because it gave her a chance to show off her skills at naming all of them and making the appropriate sounds), but she also was excited to get close and pet them. There were a few times we had to remind her to be a little softer (like with the baby chicks---poor thing got its eye jabbed a few times), but overall, she loved going to see all the babies and getting a chance to pet them (and usually did an excellent job of being gentle).
Maybe next year, she'll be old enough to actually hold some of them for herself.
Another thing I love about this particular place is that there's a lot to do that doesn't involve waiting in lines or battling out the crowds---there are places just to explore or relax and take it all in.
One of our favorites is where they keep all the old tractors and equipment---we've gotten a family picture over by these every single year that we've gone:
I don't know how long we'll be staying in Cache County (although right now, our chances of being here for quite a long haul aren't too bad), but I hope that as long as we are, we can continue to make a tradition out of community events such as this.
Also, a couple pictures of Raven just being cute that I couldn't resist posting, too:
Aaaaaaand, because this is basically already turning into a photo dump, why not post a few more?
(You can definitely tell who has the camera the majority of the time since Matt and Raven appear far more often than I do, but I'm okay with that!)
Until next year (we hope), Baby Animal Days!
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Baby Animal Days before Raven (as the only childless couple, it seemed!)