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A Supposedly Fun Thing

There may be plenty of good reasons to go to the zoo with your kid, but it’s hard to remember any of them when your cell phone is in the public toilet behind the hippopotamus exhibit.  Worse things have happened, to be sure, but I can’t think of a less hospitable place to roll up the old shirt sleeve and go fishing, as it were.  And when the deed has been done–when the phone has been retrieved from the toilet like a dead body from the Hudson River–you’re allowed to mourn its loss for a while.  You’re allowed to mope when you rejoin your companions at the hippopotami, and when they try to cheer you up by taking you to the “beer garden” next to the “swamp exhibit” you’re allowed to say things like if I wanted to pay $9 for a Miller Lite I’d drink at the Ritz and what the hell kind of second-rate zoo has an exhibit about wet dirt.

You’re also entitled to wonder why in the world you bought a family pass that allows you to go back to the zoo every single day for the next year, when clearly you’re never going to go again.  Or at least not until you’ve bought a hat for your kid so that you don’t have to cover his bald little head with a washcloth:

washcloth christoher. . . or pile a blanket and baseball cap on your own head in order to cast a shadow on his little face.

zoo

How To Survive The Zoo
by eggton

Ingredients

a waterproof cell phone case

an assortment of washcloths, hats and pieces of cloth

$9

Instructions

Put all ingredients in the car and drive somewhere other than the zoo.

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34 Comments Post a comment
  1. My mother, Rosie, used her Toilet Phone for a year after The Incident. “It works fine,” she’d say, holding it out for us to see. “And it’s not gross because I cleaned it with Lysol right away and then put it in rice. Except the flashlight stays on 24/7 which kind of drains the battery.”

    Buy yourself a new phone, k? Because your family will never want to touch you again if you don’t.

    April 14, 2015
    • HAAAA. I love Rosie so much.

      April 14, 2015
  2. Awe… I sure hope the next visit is much better…

    April 14, 2015
    • I’m sure it will be, if only because (a) it will not be the first nice, sunny day of the year WITH ALL OF CHICAGO THERE, and (b) I will no longer keep my phone in my back pocket, and (c). . . my interest in swamp animals could not be any less, so we have nowhere to go but up!

      April 14, 2015
  3. There are no words for that shot of you creating what essentially boils down to an improvised “head umbrella” for your child. Remember when we cared what people thought about us? Yeah, I can’t remember either.

    April 14, 2015
    • Sarah, I didn’t even say to Scott “LET’S GO FAR AWAY FROM THE REST OF THE PEOPLE SO I CAN GIN UP A HEAD UMBRELLA.” I just plopped down at the first picnic table I saw and got to work.

      April 14, 2015
      • Funny thing is, I bet other moms were all like “why the hell didn’t I think of that? It would be easier than trying to keep a hat on my kid’s head”, because by the way, they can sleep folded up, eat on their sides, sit in their own shit for hours, and be entertained by ceiling fans, but don’t TRY TO PUT A SUNHAT ON THEIR HEAD or they’ll go batshit.

        April 14, 2015
  4. haha, it was a bit ambitious to buy a pass for your tiny infant to enjoy the zoo 🙂 Parenting tip: go somewhere at least once before committing to the pass.

    April 14, 2015
    • Damn, everything about this is SO TRUE.

      April 14, 2015
  5. Amy #

    I would have left that cell phone where i dropped it! Yuck! Hopefully Christopher enjoyed the zoo even if he didn’t have the most fashionable of headwear.

    April 14, 2015
    • Sun hat ordered! (or is “sun hat” redundant?)

      April 15, 2015
  6. Oh, the horror! The horror! I keep my phone in my back pocket, but after hearing a number of stories like this one, I remove it and set it on the sink before unbuttoning, every time. (I also have it in a waterproof case, but that’s more because I have the phone in the kitchen with me and I spill stuff on it all the time.)

    Also, your washcloth-wearin’ baby is freakin’ adorable. That has to make up for it just a little bit, right?

    April 14, 2015
    • This was the first day the baby ever snarled his lip, Willow. I’m glad to see that he can read my mood and support me accordingly.

      April 15, 2015
  7. I used to work at a zoo and I am all in favor of you going every day for the next year. But please forgive me if this post reminds of how I used to laugh at people with babies… the funniest thing was the tiny children getting all excited at the pigeons and squirrels on the public walkways. They got it that they were there to be excited about animals, but were too young to understand that a hippo all the way from Africa is a bigger deal than a pigeon. All that trouble schlepping your kid to the zoo with the big stroller and the sippy cups and bottles and the crying fits and the washcloth because you forgot a hat and the little bags of goldfish crackers, and it turns out they’d get just as much out of sitting in front of your apartment building watching the squirrels go by. But a lot of people seem to think that going to the zoo isn’t a thing that adults do, so I figured maybe they’d been waiting years to have a baby and have an excuse to go.

    April 14, 2015
    • Yes!! This reminds me of the time I asked my friends kid what she saw on their family vacation to Montana. She said squirrels! And I said no bison? No moose? And I said how big are the squirrels? I said how big were the squirrels? And she showed me with her hands. Then I said how big were the moose? And she showed me the same size with her hands. I guess she had seen the Moose from the car at a distance, and to her it looks the same size as the squirrels close up. 🙂

      For all my joking, we will go to the zoo again, I’m sure. Once he gets used to the stroller, it will be a nice place to walk. And I do love me some animals, just not the reptiles who live in the swamp. 😉

      Thanks for the laugh!

      April 14, 2015
      • Diane #

        Lord I love your worldview.

        April 14, 2015
  8. Some gals have all the luck…some gals have all the pain! Looks like you got the bad luck 🙂

    I love the zoo. Shame I’m 3.5 hours away from the only one in my country! And, well, I’m baby-free and love a tan, so.

    April 14, 2015
    • I typically love the zoo too. Do you guys have an aquarium? Those might be my favorite, especially jellyfish exhibits.

      April 15, 2015
      • Probably not! I loved the one in Cleveland – moray eels and so many anemones! I can see why people spend a small fortune on saltwater tanks.

        April 15, 2015
  9. Sher Abbott #

    I laughed and laughed at your zoo antics! Motherhood has not changed your wonderful sense of humor in any way. Congrats on the new baby too! I have been a fan of your blog for a long time and I assumed that you would not be posting too much after the baby. I am SO glad that you are still blogging. I enjoy your recipes and I adore the photos you take of your pup pups!

    April 14, 2015
    • Sher, thank you so much for this kind comment. I really hope to keep writing here because starting site was probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done (I suppose I should say baby aside, now :)). And it’s in large part thanks to the participation in the comments, so thank you!

      April 15, 2015
  10. sue ellen #

    See…I told you these would be the ‘best years’ of your life !!! (teehee) ☺

    April 14, 2015
    • HAHAHA I hope that’s coming down the pike. 🙂 No, but seriously–things are so much better now than they were a month ago. SO MUCH BETTER.

      April 15, 2015
  11. Anne #

    Hang in there! The baby is beautiful. We got a zoo membership when my now-14 month old was 2 months old and then wondered why the heck we had gotten it. I’ll tell you why: because it was somewhere we could stroll him without worrying about getting plowed over by a wayward texting driver. And they sold popcorn. At 11 months old, he started waving at the monkeys. We go every week.

    The blog is such a treat. Keep it up.

    April 14, 2015
    • Oh this is so lovely to hear. We will stick with it in hopes of it turning out just as it did for you and your son. What a nice little story.

      April 15, 2015
  12. Jen #

    Oh dear,
    you will never have all of the stuff you need when you take your kid on an outing! It’s just part of life. Here’s hoping that your phone doesn’t always fall into the toilet but you will make more than 1 umbrella hat out of a blanket in your life. trust me!

    April 14, 2015
    • I think we’ve gone on maybe 8 outings so far (and I’m including even the smallest of trips) and Ive probably forgotten stuff on 5 of those!

      April 15, 2015
  13. jenny_o #

    I love your recipe!

    And you know how the saying goes – necessity is the mother of inventory? Well, MOTHERS are the mother of invention, by jingo …

    April 14, 2015
    • jenny_o #

      well, crikey, I didn’t proofread that comment, did I? “necessity is the mother of INVENTION” of course; I do accounting so I guess “inventory” just came out my fingers of its own accord 🙂

      April 14, 2015
      • Jenny, I thought it worked, though! Necessity IS the mother of inventory. If we didn’t NEED it, we wouldn’t pack a whole inventory of stuff in the diaper bag and haul it around with us.

        April 15, 2015
        • jenny_o #

          Hah! True! And you’re pretty sharp for a sleep-deprived mama 🙂

          April 15, 2015
  14. Jo #

    “when the phone has been retrieved from the toilet like a dead body from the Hudson River”

    You’re a hoot!

    April 15, 2015
    • Jo, I used to live three blocks from the Hudson River. Thankfully I never saw a dead body get pulled out of there, but at night, in the dark, it wasn’t hard to imagine it happening!

      April 15, 2015
  15. That was beautiful. And the last line was the perfect punchline. I do agree with one of the commenters above that if you go regularly, you’ll maybe find it relaxing (and not get run over by a wayward driver!) There will come a day when you are dying to get out of the house and find something to distract your baby, and this should fill the bill nicely.

    April 17, 2015

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