10 Reasons Why Its Funner To Be a Kid at the Zoo

For an animal lover and avid people-watcher, a visit to the zoo never gets old, no matter your age. However at times I find it far more entertaining to watch the children at the zoo, rather than the animals…

For example: I once witnessed a little girl throw an AMAZING tantrum (screaming, wailing, arms flailing… the whole bit) all the way from the Northern Trek down to the African Savanna… and no one even blinked. I have to say, I envied her a little. I mean, let’s be honest people… sometimes it WOULD be nice for it to be OK if you had a total and complete MELT-DOWN like that in front of everyone. No questions asked.

But this little red-faced, siren-sounding, tantrum-throwing child-coming-down-from-an-extreme-sugar-high not only entertained me, she inspired me. My envy of her led me to think of some other reasons why it is WAY better to be a kid at the zoo than it is to be an adult. So here goes…

1. You get to be chauffeured around everywhere in a plush, shaded stroller or fun little red wagon.

2. You can dress up like the animals and people think it’s cute. No one thinks it is “weird” or “just-trying-to-get-attention” or “wacky” or “deranged.”

3. Everyone moves out of YOUR way so that you can have the best view of the monkeys throwing poo at one another.

4. You will not be made fun of or teased for spilling ketchup and mustard down the front of your shirt and walking around all day sportin’ a stain on your chest.

5. When you talk to the animals no one thinks it is “strange” or “just-trying-to-get-attention” or “questionable” or “sad.”

6. It’s totally acceptable and not “dirty” to ask questions like: “What is that kangaroo doing to that OTHER kangaroo?”

7. No one yells: “Hey!” or “Get down from there!” or “You’re too heavy!” or “You’ll break it!” if you climb up and sit on the railing to get a better look at the tortoises.

8. If you make random animal noises while standing in line for the bathroom or concessions no one thinks it is “odd” or “just-trying-to-get-attention” or “curious” or “psycho.”

9. You can be covered in cotton-candy, having the bestest, stickiest, finger-lickingest time of your life and no one looks at you funny. You do NOT have to carry your cotton-candy home in a concealed plastic bag and secretly devour it at 10 p.m. on the couch in your living room, sitting next to your cat while watching re-runs of Seinfeld… with the blinds drawn.

10. And finally… as previously mentioned… You can throw an elephant-sized fit whenever, wherever and whyever you want to and no one thinks it is “scary” or “just-trying-to-get-attention” or “immature” or “narcissistic.”

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The Tantrum Within

Sometimes I wish I could act out my feelings. As young adults we learn that it isn’t “appropriate” to let it rip when it comes to letting others know exactly how we feel at any given time. We are to be “mature” and “calm” and “keep it together.” And by no means, under NO circumstance is it acceptable to come unglued in front of others.

Last Saturday I was at a minor league baseball game with Lee and another couple. It was hot and humid and just generally uncomfortable. The game was running a little long (or so it felt) and I’ll admit it… I was dreaming of my pajamas, a cold drink (that didn’t cost $7), a comfy couch and the luxury of air conditioning. Yet there we sat, 4 composed adults calmly watching the game and chatting about this or that.

In front of us sat a family with 2 young girls that I would guess to be around 5 or 6. At the beginning of the game they were so cute… All neatly put together with tidy little outfits and hair ribbons to match clipped firmly in place. They were happy. They had cotton candy and fruit-slushies and peanuts. And since our seats were right behind the dugout, each girl had received a foul ball from one of the players.

However, as the evening unfurled and the innings slowly stretched from one into the next, the girls began to … how shall I put this?? … Unravel. Their hair was beginning to frizz from the heat and stray curls were sticking to the backs of their necks. The ribbons began slipping from their places and dangled limp, clinging to scraps of sweaty, unkempt hair.

The outfits weren’t so tidy anymore, smudged by dirt and food and God only knows what else. Their once-shiny little faces were now partially covered in red, blue and purple cotton-candy and slushie stains. Smiles had turned to frowns and eventually all-out scowls.

Then the meltdowns started.

Whining, crying, twisting-in-the-seats, stomping, kicking, bickering and eventually screaming became the main event rather than the ballgame. It was quite the scene, I tell ya. Eventually they did run out of steam. One of them surrendered to her seat, slumping deep down into it while turning the baseball over and over in her small hands… sort of trance-like.

The other had one last hurrah with an empty plastic water bottle. From her mother’s lap she banged it and banged it repeatedly against the concrete of the dugout before winging it as far as it would go. And I admired her for it. Hell, I envied her for it. I laughed at this wonderfully expressive tantrum, not because I thought it was cute but because I COULD RELATE TO IT.

Her little fit served three purposes: 1. It made noise. 2. It provided the opportunity to flail her arms wildly about. And 3. It showed everyone in our section her extreme displeasure with the current situation. How I wish I could do the same whenever I am displeased with my current situation… whatever it may be. Ahhh to be young again. Ultimately, she succumbed to exhaustion and passed out in her mother’s arms at the bottom of the eighth.

It was at this point that my friend turned to me and said: It’s about that time… It’s late. It’s hot. Everyone is tired. And there is no more candy. We’re just like them, you know, except that we—unfortunately—are all grown up.”