Labels: random thoughts
The Saddest Petting Zoo Ever
We spent a good part of Sunday morning at the park with some friends. I, I'm ashamed to admit, had never been to Pinecrest Gardens since Parrot Jungle moved out and it was converted into a beautiful neighborhood park. Given that a lot of the park has been left to flourish on its own, it's a wonderful hybrid of natural beauty and traditional park.
Anyway. It was hot as hell. They have this small toddler splash area with some sprinklers and such, and I was about ready to push them all out of the way and throw myself in one of the puddles of water. But none of us were prepared for the splash area (no swimsuits, towels, etc), so we stayed in the playground, which is right next to a petting zoo. And while the playground was great, that petting zoo was the most depressing thing I'd ever seen.
The petting zoo was made up of about five huge pigs (huge, nothing like Wilbur or Babe or even Porky Pig. They were immense and surly) and two or three goats. That's it. They were supposed to be led to the general area every hour starting at 10 a.m., but no one showed up until noon. The animals had to be
pushed gently urged to the general area, where 15 kids were waiting with cups of food. These poor creatures just seemed so forlorn: they had zero interest in the food; the pigs bared their teeth and squealed (in what sounded like terror) whenever a kid approached; and they all seemed tired, dirty and depressed, as if they carried the weight of the world on their shoulders and that world was a miserable one.
And my son - my son was walking up to each animal and kissing it on its side and rubbing his hands all over the crapped-up dirt. When I asked him to please stop, he kept right at it. I warned him to stop or we'd leave, and sure enough, he kept right at it and I picked him up and took him out of the petting zoo. It was a move that inspired him to cling to the gate and kick and scream and cry, while I hovered over him, trying to both calm him down and move him out of the way while holding my ground, all the while battling my embarrassment and anger as I hissed at him, "Keep it up and we're not just leaving the animals, we're leaving the park." I felt all eyes on me as I dragged my child away as he yelled "NO!! STOP! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" There I was, being that mom. And it didn't help when later on I saw another mom talking to her husband, giving me a look and pointing and gesturing at me. Bitch.
Still, I didn't let him back into the petting zoo. I gave him some time to calm himself down and then let him get back to the playground.
By the end of it all, I was a wasted mess. Tired. Upset. Disappointed in myself. I thought of the petting zoo as I drove home. Poor animals.