Kaitlyn's class made its annual trek to the zoo and I was coerced into going along (Mom? You are going to the zoo right because the teachers want you to and they're dividing us into 4 equal groups [she's working on fractions] and we'll look at all the animals and we have to wear these shoes [points to her tennis shoe-clad feet] because they're comfortable and we're going to walk a lot and we're going to have lunch at the park and we have to bring a jacket but not a big coat and we have to stay with the group and be friends with everyone and not run off and you're coming with us right?).
Seriously, she didn't pause for breath.
After reviving her with rescue breathing, we calmly discussed the fact that I did NOT want to go to the zoo because I hate the zoo. Actually, I calmly discussed it and she ignored me completely. She started in on her plea again and I kindly and gently stopped her by yelling, "Okay, okay! I'll go! Now please start breathing because you have really bad breath and I don't want to have to do that again!"
Yes, I realize that isn't funny but it's after 11 pm and I'm very tired.
Fortunately, last night she was sick with the sniffles and was up off and on all night sneezing, coughing, and wheezing. "Great!" I thought. "She's sick and I don't have to go to the zoo! Yippeee!" Remember, I never professed to be mother of the year.
Unfortunately, she woke up this morning happy, excited, and rarin' to go. No amount of begging on my part swayed her in the slightest ("Come on, Kaitlyn, we'll play Wii all day and watch movies and drink lots of chocolate milk and I won't make you study your spelling words and I'll buy you a pony!"). No dice. So off to the zoo we went.
I'd like to start by saying that Kaitlyn's teachers this year are amazing. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. They are sweet, kind, caring, firm, flexible, and talented. Great combination. After the train wreck that was last year, we are thanking our lucky stars (and our Heavenly Father) for such a wonderful experience this year.
I mean, last year the teachers wouldn't have wanted me near their field trip with a 10-mile pole. How they couldn't have wanted such a wonderful, helpful, rational, and calm person as myself along to help out is beyond me. Maybe it's because last year I had to become an absolute wee-otch in order to advocate for my child. Those of you who know me are surely saying, "But Stephanie - you could never be anything but wonderful, helpful, rational, and calm! What are you talking about!" But alas, it's true. I was a complete nightmare last year, and I'm proud of it. All kidding aside, I'll do just about anything fair and legal to make sure my children are getting a safe, happy, appropriate education. 'Nuff said.
So the fact that the teachers wanted me to come along was flattering, and the fact that my almost-8-year-old wanted me to come along too was mystifying. Realizing that I don't have much longer where my child will voluntarily share her life with me and that very soon I may be prying things out of her, I decided it was a good idea to enjoy these moments while they last, suck it up, and pretend to enjoy myself.
But this isn't about me, and I digress.
And yes, once again I was pleasantly surprised (see the Lagoon blog from last year). We really did have fun. I even got attacked by a leopard! And my friend got a picture to prove it! Sure there were several inches of glass between us, but that's not important. He sprang right at me with his fangs bared and I jumped backward and screamed like a girl. Good times. She's going to email me the picture, but in the meantime I'll post the pictures of the leopard threatening my baby:
Come to think of it, the cat's aggression could have had something to do with the pack screaming, hyper 8 year olds who were hitting the glass and demanding entertainment. In case you can't read the note taped to the glass, it says:
"This cat is new to this yard. Please be quiet and respectful at the windows while the cat explores and adjusts to this new environment."
What's interesting to me is that the note was taped to the INSIDE of the glass, nearest the leopard with his big fangs and claws and ability to rip the note to shreds, and not on the OUTSIDE of the glass, which would have been nearest the 8 year olds. Obviously the zookeepers of the Asian Highlands recognized the bigger threat.
The bears were also in fine form, kissing and dancing the morning away. The kids pointed out that it is still close to Valentine's Day, so kissing and dancing are still appropriate. I always think kissing and dancing are appropriate (especially in church, where love is so important), so I didn't argue. I also didn't want to burst their bubbles by explaining that they probably weren't kissing and dancing. But who am I to judge? Maybe they were. Pictures:
We were also nearly attacked by a particularly ferocious zebra, who must have been having a bad morning. He reared up on his hind legs (actually, I think I'll call this one a girl since I called the leopard a boy and I have no idea if it was male or female since I was not interested in checking while he was baring his fangs and springing at me). SHE reared up on HER hind legs and charged directly at the camera, emitting a deep snarling growl and baring her front teeth. Luckily my camera was still working after I dried the urine off of it (see the above leopard incident) and I was able to wrap my coat around my waist, enabling me to stay at the zoo to get this amazing picture, which I'm sure will be in every single magazine by Monday morning:
Well, maybe I missed the shot, but trust me - she was murderous.
This is massively too long so quick wrap-up: The zoo was fun.