How Do I Describe The Zoo On *This* Day?

How Do I Describe The Zoo On *This* Day?


No peacocks were harmed on this day, though I can say for certain that our family’s outlook on visiting the zoo has certainly been damaged. I’m left pondering if it’s having a family with special needs, having 3 young children, being in a medication change, on a fall break or being worn down from years of ‘the struggle’.

Photo Credit: © Josephine MacDonagh

Slow moving, seems to be our days, which is strange as we’ve been waking later, though still not sleeping through the night. Maybe long days is what is more appropriate. This day, no different, began with the refereeing of three, separating of some for safety. Over and over again. It’s decided to get out of the house, take advantage or the warm day and the zoo pass calling from my wallet.

After 2 hours of time-outs, separating and trying to help 3 get ready, we leave. At 10 am, we’re close to the zoo.

Now I don’t know how to accurately describe this day to you. Other than to say it’s full of whining, crying, tantrum throwing, wobbling ‘drunk’ kids, and more. We finally make our way to the coveted reptile pavilion. Fish greet you, their tanks speckle the cave-like reptile wonderland, complete with finished pebbled floors. Passing by the bats, the anaconda, a fish that seems entirely too large for its species who looks onward towards kids it would surely gobble up. We’ve spent most of our time watching the snakes and 15 foot high (or more) fish tanks full of colorful wonders.

Our primary goal achieved, we made our way outside for more crying, whining, tantruming …but we’re parents. We have a hold on it. Until I get ahold of J to help him into his custom fitted (insurance provided) jogging stroller and find him…soaked. His shirt. His pants…down his left leg (thankfully not his right with his knee-high AFO). Not the kind of soaked you can hide, but the kind that is a deal breaker. Time to change or leave. And he’s out of it. Asleep standing up. He has absolutely no idea what’s going on, it seems.

Leading him to the bathroom, I pray he’s out of it enough to ignore the sensory difficulties (visual and auditory) that have been heightened during this time. The bathroom is bustling, but luckily there’s no line. The large bathroom is taken by another mother, so we squeeze into a smaller, but not too small stall. Echos. Activity. Kids crying. Toilets flushing. The air hand-dryer intermittently wailing….it’s an auditory-sensitive kids nightmare…the stuff of their parent’s terrors…and this is our haven to find a way to salvage the day. He holds his ears and tries lethargically to help me help him. Again, he proves he’s my hero…

I lead him out with his pants in my hand, sock off his left side, my shirt on him tied in a knock in the back since mine was longer to cover his bum (I, like he, had 2 on). What could be salvaged of one of his shirts tied in the back for a Tarzan effect, with a second shirt wadded in the pants bundle. We ignored the looks of some, bobbed and weaved through others fast enough for them not to notice and I rushed him to his stroller…running back to the entrance to pay for an overpriced pair of red penguin jammy bottoms to hide his bottom. And we continued….with crying, whining, tantruming…from all.

Our family zoo ritual necessitates ending on the train then the carousel. This was pushing it, but the thought of not fulfilling this filled us with more dread than C or I could handle in our tired minds and bodies.

That’s when this was filmed…it was unscathed, but I couldn’t fathom being sadistic enough to keep my film going….

In the end, we spent 1.5 hours there longer than usual just from managing all the kids dished. We are mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted and I’m fairly certain that I will be ignoring that little voice that tells me to ‘just go for it’!

What about you? What outing have you had that have left you exhausted and unable to describe all the events that left you so?

About the Author:

Gina St. Aubin

Gina St. Aubin is a former Victim’s Advocate who now advocates for those with intellectual and physical challenges. Her eldest son is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Electrical Status Epilepticus during Sleep / Landau-Kleffner Syndrome (a rare epileptic disorder causing verbal aphasia) and Developmental Delays. In June, 2012, her son also underwent a successful hemispherectomy. Gina is the editor, author and owner of Special Happens, serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the SPD Foundation, and resides in Colorado where she is a mother of 3, wife, blogger, writer and special needs advocate.


  1. Secret Mom thoughts October 20, 2010 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    glad the peacock made it unharmed. Wow that sounds like a very trying and exhausting day. Hope you got to rest a little that night.

    • Gina
      Gina October 21, 2010 at 1:27 am - Reply

      @Secret Mom Thoughts~ LOL. Rest? Who needs rest. Now I wish I would’ve kept the camera going. He was one lucky peacock!

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