I didn’t want to go. I was made to. The thought of it was exhausting. But they made me do it. The nana and the five year old. It wasn’t fear as I knew I would be protected by gauze, netting, glass and electric fences. it was just the sheer thought of a whole day out… at the zoo!
That exhausted me. A whole day! I would be the one feeling like a trapped animal! I like three hour, not eight-hour events with a small child. A whole day is asking for trouble. Perhaps it’s because if she gets tired now, we don’t have the fall back of the buggy like we used to, and she’s too big for little old me to carry far. I can just about carry her to bed and that’s seven feet from the lounge!
My daughter is a delight normally, but when tired she is a nightmare. Any excursions and trips are carefully planned, military style, to ensure there is no excess walking. She even complains her legs hurt – usually just when we’ve left the house to go on a long trip. “They can’t hurt already!” Perhaps they are growing pains…
I planned our route around London Zoo the night before, avoiding the aquarium (we’ve seen many fish) and reptile house (seen a few lizards, seen them all.)
I planned when we would eat, pee, and blow noses. It paid off, as it was a painless, pleasant day. Sure, the tiger was asleep – lying on his back like a kitten with paws up; the lions didn’t move, and the parrots “look a bit scruffy Mummy”, but the flamingos were amazing – they looked like Art Deco ornaments. And seeing a penguin swim underwater was beautiful and last but not least, seeing the gorillas eating a branch really touched me – they looked so human!
I’d never been to a zoo before; I found it mesmerising. The gorilla didn’t just touch me, he touched the other gorilla in the ‘marital way’. It was too late to put my hands over the five year old’s eyes. Should I have done? Seeing apes mate is not like seeing rabbits mate, as apes just look like hairy, fat humans! I wasn’t sure if I should let the child watch. I know it’s nature but it was so human… When another ape came out to view the couple I led my child away. After all, I didn’t know if the scene was going to get a bit ‘bohemian’. I was worried I’d have lot of explaining to do later but when I asked my daughter what she thought of the zoo she said: “Everything except the Gorillas, we stayed too long!”