Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I was awakened by a boy wearing only jungle motif jammy bottoms and complaining of severe hunger. My eyes shuttered. I grunted and rolled away. My survival instincts were kicking in and my body knew that if I played dead there would be a 50/50 chance that my sleep steeling predator would move on to more lively game, like my husband or dog. Nope. It didn’t work. The restless native used more aggressive measures to wretch me out of my glorious stayed-out-too-late-last-night, probably-haven’t-made-it-to-REM-sleep-yet slumber. I was probed in the back by Buzz Lightyear, and he was saying things, very loud and obnoxious things. There was no way out, not with a three-year-old boy with hunger pangs.
I cricked and creaked my way down the steps whispering loudly to please keep it down since baby sissy was still sleeping. I’m sure it’s normal for three-year-old boys to jolt awake and flit about with as much energy as a frat house hopped up on Red Bull on a Friday night, but it just seems so unnatural. I need time and space. Oh how I need space and peace. Yes. But forget it. It never happens for me. I have to turn it on and try to match the excitement Georgie has for a brand new day. He always acts surprised that the sun actually rose up off the horizon and lit the world. I guess we just take it for granted. I would prefer to be in bed at sunrise and for a few hours thereafter.
Nevertheless, we had to start eating immediately, because this was a day for big things. We had plans and they would take us on the “eventure” of a lifetime. George finished off three bowls of cereal. His baby woke up. George refers to his little sister, Evie, as his baby. Things were really coming together. My husband and I packed. We packed and packed and packed. And anyone with two very small children know that we continued packing and making trips upstairs and to the garage several times. During the packing the natives were getting restless. There was pinching by the toy box, hair pulling and toy stealing by the front door, and dog riding under the dining table. There were stainless steal pot lids clashing as symbols and squealing with joy at big bubby’s ingenuity. And yet there was still packing and some arguing for good measure. And of course, right on cue, when we were walking out the door there was pooping. By the grace of God, a bottle of Alieve, and some kinda luck we were on our way to the National Zoo.
I was giddy as we walked through the entrance. We made it after all. It was like making it to the finish line at a marathon. George insisted upon seeing the farm animals first. Have you ever been there? The farm animals at the National Zoo are probably cleaner than my dog, and for sure cleaner than my children. They must get bathed daily. Oh, and their barn is immaculate. The inside is covered in richly stained, cedar planks, and there wasn’t a scant trace of manure. I was ready to move in. Let me be a donkey here. Show me to my stall please. I’m pretty sure that George would have spent the entire day looking at the goats, but we had more exotic animals to see.
The first treasure George spotted after the livestock was cotton candy. I don’t know how he knows what cotton candy is. How do kids do that? They learn things and you don’t even realize it. Well, he certainly knew what it was and he wanted it. He wanted it more than he wanted to breathe air. I resisted. Only a neglectful mother would let her baby boy eat mounds of fluffy, artificially colored sugar. He became obsessed. Around every tiger, sloth, naked mole rat, and lemur was more cotton candy. It got hot. We ran out of water and nutritious snacks. I was thinking about falling into the Cheetah enclosure just to get a few minutes of peace in the shade and drink some cool water. It was just that bad. There it stood a lemonade/cotton candy cart, and we gave in. George picked his color. He was in bliss, and we won, as well. The walk back to the car was quiet – sticky, but quiet.
The ride home was none to pleasant. I can tell you that that much sugar in a three-year-old body should probably be illegal unless you have about 50 fenced in acres and some kind of harness or animal trainer. I’m still not sure how the seatbelt contained him, and I was pondering ways to sedate him in a humane fashion. When he finally came down from his sugar high and was able to respond in a semi normal way to questions, we asked him the key question of the day. “George, what was your favorite part about our day?” I predicted he would say Amazonia or the Reptile House, the misting machines would even be an acceptable answer. His honest and hurtful response: “THE COTTON CANDY!!!” I even tried asking him later in the evening and before bed, but every time I asked I got the same wretched response.
Needless to say, we will not be going back to the zoo anytime soon. I realized that I have my own zoo at home. I would rather not pack the entire house, drive 40 miles in hoards of traffic, pay $20 to park after preying on exhausted families for their precious piece of asphalt in the city, and be harassed about eating 10lbs of colorful sugar. I think I’ll stick around the house at my own zoo for a while.
Posted by Alison Welti at 12:47 PM