Someone should have told me that today was “National Visit The Zoo Day” so that I could have just stayed home. Trish and I took our 6 kids for a little impromptu field trip. As homeschoolers, we usually have the place to ourselves during the week, but not today. I actually had to stalk an elderly couple as they walked ever so slowly out to their car, so I could secure a parking place in the same zip code as our zoo.
The monkeys were an exhibit choice popular with all 6 children. Because, I suppose, they can all relate. We were pressed up against the fence, watching two spider monkeys frolic and pick bugs off of each other. A crowd had gathered all around us, and we all delighted in the monkey mischief.
During a moment of silence, I heard Cailey’s 6 year old voice ring out loud and clear, “WHOA, LOOK AT THAT HANGING DOWN THING. OFF HIS BOOTY. HE’S GOT A HANGING DOWN THING. SEE? RIGHT THERE. A HANGING DOWN THING. OFF HIS BOOTY. WHAT IS THAT?” At this point, Trish, who was closest to her, tried to quietly shush her. Which I know from experience, only makes her louder.
I heard unmistakable snickering rippling through the crowd. I whispered to Trish, “psst, let’s make a run for it.” Alas, we were hemmed in, and would have caused even more of a commotion had we attempted a hasty retreat. Especially if we had left Cailey behind. Which, I will admit, was a temptation.
I sent up a silent prayer, as I noticed the primates paying more attention to one another. “Oh dear God, please NOT THAT. Anything but THAT.”
Then I busied myself by alphabetizing the interior of my purse. Avoidance is one of my favorite coping mechanisms.
When I looked up, we had cleared the exhibit. No one was there except our 6 children, and two uninhibited monkeys.
“GO WOMAN. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD, LET’S GET OUT OF HERE.”
I remember my mother didn’t negotiate moments like that well either, in my youth. When I was about 8, she made the unfortunate decision to take my 5 year old brother and me to see Romeo and Juliet. The film version.
And by the way, I carried a torch for Leonard Whiting well into my teens.
During the pivotal kissing scene between the fair Juliet and her Romeo, my brother blurted out. loud enough for the ticket takers to hear, “LOOK MOM, THEY’RE MAKING A BABY!”
Because every 5 year old knows that anytime you kiss someone, you get a baby. And we were raised in a good Catholic home. Sex was never a topic on the table. Or anywhere else for that matter.
My brother continued, because he reasoned, mom must not have heard him. “MOOOOM. SEE? THEY ARE MAKING A BABY.” She simply slunk down into her seat, and attempted to cover his mouth with her greasy- from-all-the-popcorn hand.
I remember being equally horrified. WHAT? Because by the tender age of 8, I had already kissed a neighbor boy.
I know I can’t bury my head in
the sand my purse forever. I’ll have to have “that talk” at some point.
Sooner, I fear, if we continue to frequent the zoo.
But, fiddle dee dee. I’ll think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.
Um, any good curriculum y’all might recommend?