Jane Yee: Zoo cares?
On Friday I took Victor for his first visit to Auckland Zoo, and he absolutely loved it!
Just kidding, he didn't care at all. We went with a friend and her wee daughter, and my boy seemed far more interested in checking out his playmate (who he sees every week by the way) than taking in all the exciting new creatures before him.
I'm not going to lie, I was a little disappointed at his reaction - or lack thereof. Going to the zoo with my child for the first time was one of those things I have always looked forward to. Whenever I visited with my nieces and nephews, well before I was remotely close to starting a family, I would always think 'I can't wait to bring my own kids here'.
So when my friend suggested we take the babies to the zoo I didn't hesitate to say yes. Little Vic absolutely adores our dog Stella and can't contain himself every time she does something terribly thrilling like walking past or yawning, so I figured a trip to the zoo would be like baby Las Vegas to him.
I had visions of my son bouncing up and down, flapping his arms about and squealing with delight as he witnessed seals darting around in the water, just a few feet away.
I imagined him wide-eyed and open-mouthed in silent awe as he experienced the magnificence of an elephant for the very first time.
I pictured him laughing at the always-entertaining spider monkeys as they leaped and tumbled from branch to branch.
Basically I envisaged a day full of wonder and excitement as a lively new world unraveled before my son. I hoped it would signify the beginning of a lifelong love of animals for him. In reality he was completely blasé about the whole affair and just casually leaned back in his pushchair, appearing mostly indifferent and occasionally bored out of his brain. Despite my best - and at times downright embarrassing - efforts to get him geared up about the cheetahs, tortoise, giraffes and orangutans, he preferred to inspect his toes.
There was only one creature that motivated him to lean out of his pushchair and crane his neck for a better view, and that was his little friend Daisy.
For years I had built up my child's first zoo trip to be something of major significance, and while we had a really nice day, it wasn't quite the exciting outing for Victor that I had imagined. It's because he's too young of course; to him it was just another day in the pram with trees and sun and creatures and stuff.
What an anticlimax. And it's not the first. Little Vic didn't enjoy his first swim in the sea, he slept in on Christmas morning, and our debut outing as a family was to a specialist to get his tongue-tie clipped.
I'll give it a year, then we'll head back to the zoo and no doubt he'll be tearing around, yanking on my hand and excitedly dragging me towards the meerkats, but for now he probably has just as much fun at the supermarket as he does at the zoo.
What were you really excited to do with your little one, only to discover they didn't get the memo that it was a big deal?