Fast Times At The Houston Zoo

Believe it or not, years ago I started this clap-trap hobo parlor as a way to cope with having the WORLD’S MOST ANGRY BABY. During our time together, I’ve documented various humiliating parenting milestones, all at the hands of my adorable, and unrelenting offspring.

Memories.

Memories.

 

In the years since, grouchymuffin has mushroomed into an internet institution chock-filled with fart jokes, drunken cat-calls, and various complaints against humanity.

Yet in spite all of this, I remain the parent of Angry Baby, who somewhere along the way magically morphed into a laughing and happy little girl.

Yes, AB has become a little ball of sunshine, except for when she’s not. See, because Lover Fo’ Life and I are in that CHARMING phase of child-rearing called toddlerhood, we’re constantly hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. As anyone with a kid knows, the frustrations of emerging language and social skills often cause toddler tantrums that harken back to the days of enraged newborn.

The good news? Most of the time Angry Baby is a 1st class silly sweetcheeks. These days, L4L and I are having more and more actual FUN with our daughter. Parks, parties, bounce houses, and all the like, we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing her unbridled joy.

All smiles.

All smiles.

That’s why last week, when my Moms in law called and suggested we take her to the Houston Zoo on Saturday, I immediately said, “YAAAAS!”

Oh sure, we were throwing caution to the wind by taking her to an outdoor venue in Houston, AKA humidity and heat a-go-go, but the cooler weather and draw of seeing her favorite animals made it a no-brainer.

All week I planned and strategized for our first family trip to the Zoo. Snacks were packed and memberships purchased. Just for good measure, we made sure to talk up our near-future adventure. By Friday, Angry Baby was telling complete strangers at the grocery store all about her upcoming trip.

Saturday morning arrived. Leaving nothing to chance, we arrived the moment the Zoo opened for the day. I didn’t need crowds of yahoos and tiny parking lots to throw a wrench into our plans, the volatile nature of our precious child was variable enough.

Speaking of, she was on cloud nine when we arrived:

“WE’RE HERE! WE’RE HERE! WE’RE HERE! IT’S THE ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

So far so good, AB was bouncing off the walls excited. L4L threw on his backpack filled with various sundries and emergency items, and I asked the big question of the day: “Stroller or no stroller?” The consensus was pro-stroller because the Zoo is a huge place and her little legs were bound to get tired at some point. Right?

Our crew made its way to the entrance, Granny in her “havin’ fun hat,” and Angry Baby galloping a blissful whirl of excitement. Outside it was a bit overcast with a nice wind that chilled us ever so slightly. Somewhere in the hours before our arrival, ol’ man weather decided to do us a solid and cleared out the muggy, sticky, humid, Houston usual and graced us with a cool front that later in the morning would blossom into the most glorious weather possible.

Nothing but beauty.

Nothing but beauty.

Angry Baby had two animals on her “to-see” list: Monkeys and Cheep-Cheeps. For everyone not in my immediate family, “Cheep-Cheeps,” are baby chicks and birds. AB is going through a bit of a cheepie-cheep phase and will “hatch” from an egg made of her pillow and blanket, multiple times during the day. When in baby chick mode, she will only speak in cheeps and expects you to do the same. I suggested baby chick take a ride in her stroller as we made our way through the exhibits, “NO! I want to run around, Mama Chick.” And like that, she was off. Running and jumping,hopping, and goofing around.

I marveled at her energy, and remarked to L4L:

“If someone offered to chauffeur me around in a rolling hammock, rather than walk all over the place, I’d plop down in a heartbeat. But no, not only does she refuse to be carted around, the kiddo insists on RUNNING everywhere, incredible!”

Ever the wise sage filled with wisdom, L4L’s response was:

“Oh, she’ll hit the wall soon. Then it will be all stroll-roll.”

Our parental musings were cut short by the tiny despot. “I want to go see the monkeys!” Angry Baby declared, and then immediately began making elaborate money sounds. “We will, but first we have many other animals to walk by and visit.”

Right now, the Zoo happens to have two very notable additions, a baby elephant, and a baby giraffe. Both little and super-precious, the babies were MUST SEES on everyone’s list. Well, almost everyone.

We arrived at the elephants, just in time for an evil crone to yell at L4L for “stepping in front of her grandkid,” good thing she was out of my eye-sight and earshot when the old bag decided to pull her stunt-queen nonsense, because I’m always primed to cut a b*tch who slights my beloved.

We saw the baby elephant, getting a little morning milk from mama. It was super adorable. AB wasn’t impressed. “MON-KEYS. I want to go see the monkeys.” Granny, knowing exactly where this was going, pulled out the map and began to plot our way to the primate section of the park. In our first hour at the Zoo, there had been minimal drama (except for Grandma A*shole) and nothing but smiles from our family. We saw various animals, but because they weren’t monkeys, Angry Baby was not that into them. As granny began to lead our group to the primates, a new game was born.

Zoo Gals = Total Pals

Zoo Gals = Total Pals

“I’m going to catch you Granny!” Angry baby yelled, and she raced to her side. For the rest of the visit Granny and her tiny tormentor would chase each other. Did I mention L4L and I took turns lugging the not-needed umbrella stroller? We did. But I’m convinced that we got off easy, because at least we weren’t in Granny’s running shoes.

We arrived at the monkeys, and wouldn’t you know it, homegirl loved them. She was in heaven watching them jump and leap all over the elaborate habitat. Still fairly uncrowded, we walked through and witnessed various monkeys doing their thang, with only one other group, a family of Pentecostal women. When we arrived at the baboons, L4L and I became transfixed on their colored butts (in our house we call butts “buns”).

The weird (and blurry) buns in question.

The weird (and blurry) buns in question.

 

I loudly exclaimed, “Look at those weird buns!” Not realizing that the Pentecostal women were immediately to our right, wearing their uncut hair in large buns. Instantly, the ladies took my buns comment as an insult about their hairdo, and glared at me. I thought about explaining,

“Hey, I didn’t mean YOUR buns, I was referring to the baboon’s ass! Your buns are beautiful!” 

I thought better of it, these people already hated me, no need to offend them further.

As if on-cue, Angry Baby was over the monkeys…”CHEEP CHEEP! I want to go see the cheepie cheeps!” The chicks were at the Children’s Petting Zoo section of the park, and as we made our way to them, we stumbled on to the giraffes, complete with the famous baby in tow. “Awwww! Look at those giraffes, that baby is so cute!”

“I want cheep-cheeps, Mama cheepie chick, let’s go find the chicks!”

On our way, Angry Baby rode her first carousel, aptly choosing a snow tiger and reveling in the whirling delight with her Granny right next to her. L4L waited in the sidelines, videoing the milestone and waving at every revolution. She blew me a kiss, the kid was in sheer bliss.

carousel

Finally, it was time to see the chicks, she ran through the display and quickly surveyed the fluffy balls of adorability. Once she learned she would not be taking one home or even holding a cheep-cheep, she lost interest.

The next 3 hours were spent taking in every last animal we could. With the burden of the dumb chicks and show-boating monkeys behind us, Angry Baby used the remainder of our visit to look at more creatures, and race her Granny. By the way Moms in law was not only able to keep up with Usain Bolt 2, but she also hoisted her 36+ pound wiggling body for 30 minutes straight while they observed various frogs in the Amphibian and reptile house.

Lover fo’ Life and I laughed and reveled in the gorgeous weather, marveling at the fact that this trip was going so well. After 4.5 hours of pure movement and enjoyment, Angry Baby was ready for our picnic. But first, a quick stop at the gift shop for a souvenir of her first trip to the Zoo. Without hesitating, she walked immediately over to the chompers, AKA long sticks with animal heads on them that open and close.

 

He hasn't left her side since.

He hasn’t left her side since.

 

“I choose this dinosaur.”

“It’s an iguana.”

“I choose this iguana. He’s gonna get you!” 

She chased me down and latched him on to my shirt. “CHOMP!”

Fun coincidental fact: I chose the same chomper as my very first Zoovenir years and years ago, only I chose the shark version instead.

We had originally planned a picnic lunch in nearby Hermann Park, but due to the kite-fest the park was a Zoo. (LOLZ see what I did there!?) So instead, we piled into the truck and drove to AB’s favorite neighborhood park.

CHAWMP!

CHAWMP!

As we feasted on cold fried chicken, Goldfish, and tomatoes, the four of us recalled our favorite Zoo moments and began planning our next adventure.

Sure, there’s a pretty good chance that the scheduled upcoming trip to Houston’s Natural History museum (AKA Dinosaur museum) is not going to go nearly as well, but we’re strengthened by the successes of this past Saturday. Of course, you can’t run, jump, climb and scream at the museum, so I’m sure I’ll have plenty of gories for y’all next week.

We rocked the zoo.

We rocked the zoo.

Because let’s face it, as far as you vultures and ghouls are concerned.  the Angrier my “baby” is, the better. I know what sells, and nothing gets more reads, than yours truly in misery. Better luck next time, suckas.

Your Pal,

Cribsy

 


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