Monday, August 6, 2007
Kings of the Jungle
During Daddy Jane's most recent visit to the area, we all made a trip to the zoo. While one might think that this was a fun family occasion where we could spend time together bonding, it was really just another excuse for Helios to gape at the retired steam engine that graces the zoo's outer park area. Apparently, this train looks very similar to the "big, fat, mean steam engine" who said, "I? Pull the likes of you? Indeed not!" from The Little Engine that Could. ("Indeed not" is one of Helios' favorite lines now and more emphatic ways to say "no.") Apparently the engine's ill reputation didn't keep Helios from having a near slavish infatuation with it as he caressed its black lacquered sides and shiny cow catcher in a manner reminiscent of Gollum from Lord of the Rings. All that was missing were the slitted eyes and raspy hisses of "My precious."
Upon entering the zoo, Mommy carefully ensured we skirted the entry area where strollers and, more importantly, wagons are rented and we walked down, down, down into the grizzly bear area. Notice the sign that encourages zoo visitors to "move slowly and quietly so you don't startle the animals." Methinks that the author of this sign was a bit out of touch with at least half of the zoo's customers, who seem to be rowdy children under 15, few of whom are directly supervised by their elders and none of whom move quietly.
Once we walked far enough that we were equidistant to all restrooms (meaning also that they were equally inconvenient), Helios chose that moment to express his need to go potty. So, we (meaning Mommy and Helios, leaving Daddy Jane and Hesperos to lounge in the manufactured rain forest) rush back to the front of the zoo past the wagon rental area. SCREECH!
"Mommy, we need a wagon! We need a BLUE wagon!"
"Helios, we'll talk after we go potty. Let's run."
"No, Mommy!" demands Veruca Salt ... I mean, Helios. "I want a blue wagon now!"
"Helios, there is no wagon if you don't go potty. Let's go!"
Whether it was my persuasive skill or his deference to my motherly judgement (ha ha!) or due to the increasing bladder pressure, Helios breaks into a run and we make the potty ... just in time. But now we still need to run the gauntlet of the wagon rental stand one more time.
"Mommy, my baby brother wants a wagon!" (See how the persuasion tactics so rapidly change from the older brother wanting a wagon for himself to his less selfish desire for the baby to have a wagon?)
"Helios, Hesperos is too little for a wagon."
"No, he's a big boy. I'll share it with him." (My goodness, he's becoming a sly negotiator. Now he's not only selfless but willing to share, too!)
"Okay, we'll get a wagon," I capitulate. "But remember, it's not ours. It belongs to the zoo."
"I want a wagon for my birthday," Helios proclaims.
"For your birthday?" I ask. "How old will you be then?"
"Ooooooooh! I'll be three and I want a wagon for my birthday!"
"We'll see," I say.
So we rent the wagon. Apparently riding in a wagon denotes increased age to a pre-schooler, as a driver's license does to an adolescent because once is in it, he declares, "See, Mommy, I'm in a wagon now! I'm three years old!"
Fortunately, unlike driver's licenses, there is no requirement that one be three to drive, which allowed little Hesperos the opportunity to give it a whirl, too.
And, by the way, for anyone curious, pulling a wagon filled with approximately 65 pounds of children up a hill is no small workout.