Last week I took the Tsunamis to Taronga Zoo. Fresh air, giraffes, water play, family time, education, picnics and views. What more do you need for a brilliant day out?
Of course, there are the crowds, the heat, the stairs, the hills, the smells and the ‘big day out’ melt-downs to contend with. The zoo is not so much an outing as an expedition. Previous zoo visits have resulted in trying to convince the staff that the three over-stimulated, over-tired children they see before them do not actually belong in the monkey enclosure.
Not last Wednesday. Last Wednesday, I was the most annoying mother in the world. Not to the kids, but to the other mothers.
I took the three on my own and it was the best day ever. The Tsunamis were beautifully behaved, mostly because their mother was calm, patient and organised. Of course, I had to manoeuvre my way out of a few Badoo At Large moments, but she soon bought into our perfect-family-moment.
I remembered the wet wipes. That pretty much sums up how annoying I was. Especially when I insisted on handing one across to the mum whose child was absolutely covered in ice cream. She was equal-parts relieved and horrified.
While other parents screeched at their kids to stop getting so wet in the water play trench, I called out, “I’ve bought your swimmers, children. Do you want to go in?” The mum with the saturated child shot me a look that could kill. I handed her a towel.
The snaking line for the hotdog stand involved a very hot wait, but we sat at our shady picnic table (of course we got a picnic table) and ate our sambos and fruit and crackers. A mother jungle fowl (only at the zoo) stopped by to show us her three babies and, in a moment that I commissioned Disney to script, we fed them with crumbs from our sandwiches. A mum in the hot dog stand line curled her lip at me.
At day’s end, the line for the Sky Safari was long and involved and I thought our perfect day must surely come to an end. All around us children melted-down and complained of boredom and dehydration. My three played i-spy and complained that the water from our insulated bag was too cold. The mum behind us was very grateful when we offered to fill one of her bottles, but I know that she secretly wanted to stab me.
As we winged our way over the zoo in our little Sky Safari pod - after a quick flip to fold up the stroller (envious stares from the mum next to us with the gigantic three-wheeler) - I looked over at my three beaming children neatly on board and I thought to myself, “I am surely the most annoying mother in the world”.
And I liked it.
Would you have killed me?
Do you, like me, notice those ‘perfect’ families wherever you go?
[Image found on weheartit - please let me know if it belongs to you!]