Husband came home last night clutching a bundle of leaflets.
‘I think we should take Noodles to the zoo. He likes animals. It would be fun.’
As if on cue Noodles gave his best elephant impression, waving his arm from his nose, ‘Brrrrrrrrrrrrrppppppphhhhhhh.’
Husband may have a point. Noodles would probably love it at the zoo. Except:
• At Whipsnade Zoo monkeys threw poo at my grandad. Funny for us kids. Not so funny for my grandad.
• At Edinburgh Zoo it rained so hard for so long that our jeans had soaked water up to our thighs by the time we left.
• At Port Lympne Wild Animal Park I left Boo’s shoes at home. A fiercely independent 2-year-old, she was less than happy at being constrained to her buggy all day, constantly scolding ‘Silly Mummy – shoes!’ throughout the day.
• At Pettitts Animal Adventure Park a goat took a good munch at Boo’s skirt in the petting area, causing much hysterical screaming and tears.
• At Chester Zoo Boo fell over whilst scampering along the path to see the meerkats. Her screams sent the meerkats scattering back to their burrows to the disappointment of the crowd.
It then took us half an hour for zoo staff to locate a first aider and a pile of paperwork for them to administer a Band-Aid.
• At London Zoo Boo got lost. That heart-stopping, gut-wrenching moment when you turn around to find your child very much not there.
Several decades before, as a child, my mum also got lost at London Zoo whilst in the reptile room. It gave her a lifelong fear of snakes. Thankfully Boo was found stuck on some play equipment, but hasn’t since developed a fear of slides.
• At Longleat Safari Park the car started to overheat whilst stuck in a jam in the lion’s enclosure. The twins got excited every time a lion stretched a limb in our direction. I was freaking out, wishing I had a flare on me.
• At Banham Zoo we saw the zebras getting it on. Cue lots of awkward questions from the twins, then 3, and their nursery school friends about why ‘that zebra is trying to get on the back of that other one.’
So, Husband, yes – let’s take Noodles to the zoo. BUT let’s pick a fine day, but not one so hot that the car’s likely to break down. Let’s stay clear of monkeys and goats. And YOU can take full responsibility for packing (remember shoes and distress flares) and for keeping an eye on the children, restraining them if need be. AND for answering any questions about life, death and sex that might result from the day.