Last week we went to the zoo, we’ve been before but always with Mr Firstooth and a day out usually goes horribly wrong at some point. Not that the days out were terrible, but were usually cut short by a hysterical or frustrated toddler terror.
I don’t know what came over me to want to take them there by myself, with all those hills. I told you about those hills before. But I thought ah, what’s the worse that could happen? We’ll just leave if we need to, whatever. So I packed juices, milks, nappies, wipes, lunch, bribes, the potty and wondered why the bag zip wouldn’t shut. We need a new bag. We need a bloody suitcase. Then I just wanted to check with my outspoken toddler if he definitely wanted to go to the zoo. We don’t need another ‘we’re in Sainsburys but he wanted to be in Tesco’ episodes. (How can he tell the difference? Is he gifted? I’m sure he’s gifted. Because if he’s not gifted that means he just likes picking holes. Nobody likes a hole-picker. Or a bum-picker, he does that too.)
“Where do you want to go today”
Of course you do.
“So you want to go see the sheep and piggies?”
“So what animals do you want to see today”
“The Tigers are at the zoo, do you want to go to the zoo?”
Right ok, get in the car.
We arrived at the zoo just as the doors were opening. That’s right. If there was a book of parenting achievements I’d jot this one down. ‘Out of the house by 9am’. Then it just takes another 20 minutes to actually vacate the car with the stroller, bag and kids-who-need-a-wee-three-times-first combo.
We didn’t really need the stroller, I mostly just used it to wheel our crap around.
My big toddler held my littlest toddlers’ reigns and walked ahead. While I pushed the stroller holding potty and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, shouting “slow down, wait, HOLD ON”. They like to flirt with danger and make my heart leap out of my chest with each unnecessary sprint.
We saw all the usual zoo animals and I really embraced how lovely our outing was. I was Fun Mum for the day. We’d stop at each animal and stare for ages. I think all mums of toddlers have to make the most of how easy it is to please them. I mean, they could literally stare at a tiger for ten minutes without getting bored. That’s even a stretch for me, but as long as the babes are entertained that’s all we could ask for.
We wandered down towards the mansion house, a house I used to love seeing when I was younger. But it was now closed to the public. We stared in through the glass doors, while members of staff stared back at us. Awkward.
Instead of doing the mansion tour like I’d hoped, we watched and played around the fountain.
I would have taken pictures of them running around the fountain. But there was a wedding going on and I’m pretty sure we weren’t meant to be there. Although the staff were all cooing over my funny pair, I think they’d draw the line at pictures.
We made it around the zoo and back to the car with no tantrums or accidents. All by myself. I now have bragging rights for the rest of the day.
There’s always a but. Once we arrived home neither child would nap. What do you do in the two hours they usually sleep? That’s an extra two hours I have to find entertainment for. That’s hard. There’s only so many times we can play star-wars-pirates (genuine game my toddler invented) before I want the pirate ship to sail me away. So I thought a trip to the shops would whittle away some time. Maybe they’d sleep in the car. Maybe I could play on my phone while they slept in the car. Maybe I could get a McDonalds Drive-thru hot chocolate with my freebie card.
Only Mr M, my big boy toddler was tired from his morning at the zoo. But was certain he didn’t need a nap. He didn’t want to leave the house, tiredness makes for a difficult toddler, so I called his bluff. Calling his bluff is a parenting trick I always pull out of the bag.
“That’s fine you can stay home”
“No, my come”
“Ok, come on then”
“NO MY STAY HERE”
And so this continues until eventually I get him near the car door and quickly throw him in his car seat. He wasn’t happy about this. He turned into a floorboard. You’d think I was trying to kidnap him. I was biting my lip trying to get the sodding straps clipped together over my planking child. All while he was screaming tongues in my ear.
Then he slept in the car.
If you’ve read my posts before you’ll know it’s never that easy. He screamed the entire journey, while his sister stared at him as if she was thinking “what’s his deal”. I pulled up in our nearby retail park and tried tempting him out of the car with the promise of a toy, chocolate, anything he wanted just please stop screaming.
Then I messaged Mr Firstooth to let him know his son was being a nightmare and if he hadn’t of left the toilet seat up this morning none of this would be happening. Two things happen when our children have a meltdown, they become his children, and it’s always his fault.
I won’t go on about how I hated life while being held hostage in our car by an overwhelmingly tired baby beast. So I just left the car, got the non-screaming toddler out of the car and then negotiated with the toddler terrorist, who was gradually calming down. He was now desperate to come with us, I felt terrible for shouting at him during his tantrum. I hugged him so tightly and promised him a chocolate bar from Boots. Any chocolate bar he wanted.
“But not that one”
“No, not that one”
“How about this one?”
Some had nuts in, he was just happy to be smothering his face in chocolate.
Even though we bumped heads in the afternoon, I’d still consider the entire day out a win. An entire day out of the house, and I’m still going to boast about our successful zoo visit, when nobody cried, everyone was happy.
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day out day out day out