Last weekend, we managed to get out of town for a few days. I wanted to take Connor to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We did, eventually, get there – although it took a really, really long time. We decided to stop in San Jose and see my sister, stay overnight, and drive the next day to the aquarium. No problem right?
Except. Highway 17 had a big traffic jam. We thought it might be nice to take the windy, out-of-the-way Highway 9, and it was nice… until it was blocked 45 minutes later. We wound down a bunch of random roads and ended up (eventually) on the 101. It only took 4 hours to get from San Jose to Monterey. Yeesh.
We stayed in some very nice hotels, ate some very good food, and saw some very cool fish, but what with all the weird traffic, we only got to stay in the aquarium for a few hours – so I think we’ll have to go back again. (Oh darn.)
So, I got a flyer in my son’s Friday folder – “Come see wild animals! Woot!” (I’m paraphrasing.) I thought, “Okay, that might be fun…” so I bundled up my 7-year-old, his friend, his friend’s sister, and we all went to the school at 6:30 on Friday to see wild animals. It was actually really, really cool. An animal rescue group in Auburn that rehabilitates and releases animals that are found being illegally kept as pets, and also takes care of animals that can’t live in the wild for some reason. (They have a blind opossum and a kangaroo that was abandoned by its mother).
All of this was really great, the kids loved it – yay! (Did you know that lemurs lick the inside of other lemurs’ noses when they greet each other?) And then, at the end, for some reason, they decided it would be a great idea to let the kids all line up (read: swarm) to touch…. a LIVE ALLIGATOR.
What do you say to your child? “No, honey. You can’t touch the ALLIGATOR.” All the other kids are lining up to pet – hello – AN ALLIGATOR, and I feel like I’ve suddenly wandered into this alternate reality where parents don’t have natural protective instincts that say ‘ALLIGATOR. IT’S AN ALLIGATOR – 2000 POUNDS OF JAW FORCE, JAWS WHICH INCIDENTALLY, ARE FULL OF RAZOR-SHARP TEETH – KEEP YOUR YOUNG AWAY FROM IT’.
What’s wrong with us?
Maybe I’m uber-paranoid mom here, but I didn’t feel at all comfortable with that. Not to mention the gym became this out-of-control mass of children and parents and I couldn’t even FIND my son for a few minutes. The problem ended up solving itself – the boy got tired of waiting in line and wanted a drink, so we left. But the whole time, I’m sitting here, thinking, “Okay, you have baby alligators – they’re, like, 6 inches long. Let the kids touch the BABY alligators. But the 6-foot-long, fully-grown alligator? Oh sure, it’s never eaten a child YET…” Something about being a parent makes me absolutely sure that MY child will be the first.