Saturday, May 8, 2010

Taking a Wild Animal to See Other Wild Animals

Real monkey in a zoo.
My monkey in our zoo.

Thaaat's right. Yesterday was zoo day. A day in which my husband and I accompanied our little boy and 20 other adrenaline-fueled Pre-K students on a field trip to the Nashville Zoo. Now, normally I would not pay real money to go observe these type animals. I mean, I see (and smell) it all every day. Monkeys. Wild cats. Birds. All in the configuration of a 4-year-old. Plus, I'm really not a big fan of animals. I know, it's shameful to admit. I can tolerate a dog (until he chews the corners off the bottoms of the columns holding up the porches on our new house) and I like the idea of certain other animals but that is about as far as my love towards animals goes. Getting back on track...there was no chance in you-know-where that I would let my baby boy go on this kind of field trip without the added security of two extra pairs of eyes to watch him, a fast dad to catch him when he inevitably runs off, and a dog leash in my bag...just in case.

Well, the day went pretty much as I had imagined. John-Heath paid limited attention to the actual animals and more to other things found in the park, such as the sewer grates, electrical boxes, trash cans, power lines, caution signs, concession stands, and airplanes taking off or preparing to land at NIA.
He did enjoy the petting zoo and the goats (he kept calling them loaded goats in a reference, of course, to an Andy Griffith episode) and he loved the Jungle Gym - a large playset. He managed to get away from us (actually John) in this place for a few minutes - a very scary few minutes for me. It had been a long time since I had been to this zoo. I didn't remember this play area or know if there were multiple entrances to it. It's sad that the world has gotten so dangerous that the first thing a parent thinks when a child is lost like this for a few minutes is that some pervert may have spotted them and lured them away.
Another mom made the comment that everyone at the zoo now knew what her son's middle name was and I felt the same about John-Heath. If we called his name once we called it 500 times. Usually, because he wanted to dart ahead of us - caused by, you know, a limited ability to focus for more than 10 seconds on any one thing.
9:00 a.m. Monkeys! Cool! What's next? Oh, yay. Meerkats. Look! A plane! Hey, birds! What's this, daddy? A sewer grate? What's a sewer grate? Hey! You got two pennies so me and Kolby can buy something to drink? There's a boat over there. I'm hungry. Yeah. I see the Zebras. 9:03 a.m. ...
Well, he may have one of the shortest attention spans known to the scientific community but he is still good with directions. He asked John at one point while we were still in the park if we had seen all those trains and train tracks on the way to the zoo (he had ridden the bus and we followed behind). John told him that we hadn't. He was unsure of what John-Heath was talking about at first and then he remembered that we had passed by Radnor Yard, an area where many train tracks meet. John-Heath rode home with us and about a mile before we got to this area he spoke up and said, "Daddy, up here's where we need to turn to see the trains." Sure enough, he was right. This was his first trip ever to this area of Nashville. We were impressed.
All in all, a pretty fun day followed by milkshakes from Shake n Steak.

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