Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bao Bao

I admit it.

I have an obsession.

You would too if you saw all that I've seen.

My kids are addicted too.  Yup, I even encourage it.

We have been addicted for almost 7 months now.

Meet Bao Bao, meaning priceless treasure, pronounced like bow, as in what you do when you see royalty, not what you tie.

You get it now, right?  Have you seen anything cuter than a baby panda?  I didn't think so.  Okay, maybe my own kids were cuter...they definitely were/are...but this baby ranks right up there.  She was born in August and we have kinda, sorta been addicted to the Panda Cam at the National Zoo ever since.  The day we downloaded the app, school was derailed.  She was so tiny.  She slept a LOT.  But when she was awake, we could hear her cry and talk to her momma.  Momma would pick her up and cradle her, human style, and feed her and clean her.  Ohmysweetness!!  It was hard to get enough.  As she grew, she became mobile, Great Pandas don't walk until they are 3 months old, it was so fun to watch her.  As we counted down the days until we could see her in person, we endured hubby making fun of us!  I mean, from our perspective we were learning about pandas, homeschooling at it's finest (except the day that the panda cam totally disrupted academics!), but I can see where he is coming from, from his perspective.  The chorus of ooooos and ahhhhhs from three girls who can't take their eyes off a sleeping baby panda, I get it.  We deserve a, "You guys are totally addicted" eye roll every once in a while.  But he thinks she's cute too.  He'll say, "Let me see" when we are watching.  I think he's a secret Bao Bao addict.  I even think that down in the JLOC he's got the Panda Cam up on the big screen.  You think?  Maybe.  It's possible. 

The day comes.  We can finally go see her.  We are FONZ members, Friends of the National Zoo (the Army isn't the only one who rocks acronyms!), therefore we get a sneak peek, members only, time to see the object of our obsession.  We took school work with us because she sleeps a lot.  Like a LOT.  I was prepping for lots of waiting because we weren't going to leave without seeing her.  We were not disappointed!!  Let me tell ya, as soon as we walked into the Panda Exhibit we could hear the crowd.  We were so excited!!!  As we got closer, there were many people there, but not as bad as it could have been.  We got to see her, I had to lift Hope up so she could see over the crowd, and Julia maneuvered so she could see, grabbed the camera and set it on rapid fire.  And there she was!

If you are not oohing and ahhing, it's official, you have no heart.

She played out where we could see her about 10 minutes and then went back into her den.  On the Panda Cam, you can see her in her den, but when you are in the Panda Exhibit, you can't.  After a couple minutes of her being in her den, I'd say about half the crowd cleared out.  The girls scooted right up to the railing.  We were prepared to stay hours...we weren't going to watch for 10 minutes then give up!!  And then all the people around me started talking.  I realized that we were in good company with our obsession.  In fact, I realized that we were only minimally obsessed compared to the crowd we were in.  Yay!  One lady said she had waited FIVE hours the previous day and didn't see her!  Lucky us, we walked right in a saw her!  And then, after being in her den less than 5 minutes, this happened:

I know these are a bit blurry, but can you tell what happened?  Here's my version.  Mei Xiang, aka Momma, says, "Little one, your fans are here!  You can't sleep now!  Come back out and be cute!" and proceeds to drag Bao Bao out by her back foot!!!  So as the crowd gasps at this, the pandas seem to not be phased and have fun, and all our new friends start to giggle.  (I'm glad my momma never drug me out by my hind leg, BTW)  It was so fun.  She is adorable.  Totes adorbes, as my kids would say.

Like I said before, have you seen anything cuter?!?  Oh, so sweet!!!  We watched her for quite a while and then decided to see the rest of the zoo and come check in with Bao Bao before we left.  As always, it was a wonderful day at the zoo and this is what we found when we returned:

a sweet, sleeping baby girl...and two very happy big girls with panda daddy, Tian Tian, in the background.