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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Not that kind of mummy - A day at the zoo

The note came home. Aiden's class was going on an excursion to the Zoo. The Singapore Zoo. This is the place that everyone asks if we have been to yet. No we haven't. We have been trying to get our life in order, you know after moving countries? There hasn't been time to play tourist so when the note came home and parents could also come on the excursion, I thought "I'm in!" I filled out that permission form, filled out an annual leave form at work and dug some money out to pay for our entry. Aiden and I were going to the Zoo. The Singapore Zoo.

Last Friday dawned with much excitement. Aiden because we were going on a "coach" and me because we were going to the Zoo. The Singapore Zoo. We donned our hats, our suncreen and our packed lunches and boarded the coach. On the way I got the skinny from one of the other mums on season passes for the zoo and Universal Studios. Sweet.
Ready to see the animals
We arrived at the Zoo and while waiting for the tickets to be sorted we all had snacks and at this point I realised that neither Aiden or I had insect repellant on. Luckily there was a good mummy close by who offered some of hers. Phew! Dengue fever be gone. While still sporting my smug "you mozzies won't be get me" look, another mum inquired who I was looking after. Huh? I'm just here to see the animals with Aiden. What do you mean I have to look after some of the kids? Luckily said mommy (notice the American spelling) had taken a photo with her phone of the chart allocating children to parents and could tell me who I was looking after. Great. I ended up with Myra who could probably be mistaken for a 8 year old because she is so smart and so conscientious. She so lucked out with me.

After the shock of having to be a responsible mummy I am then handed a clipboard and a pencil. WHAT THE HELL IS THIS (I think while trying to keep a serene responsible and willing to contribute look on my face). I have to work?!!! I have just taken an annual leave day!!! What is wrong with these teachers? Really? I am supposed to write down what the kids noticed about the animal enclosures and what the children are curious about. Give. Me. Strength.

So after the shock of having to be responsible for another kid AND having to work we finally get entry to the Zoo. Note that it's 10.30am and we haven't seen an animal yet. One of the Zoo workers join our group to take us on a tour. En route we see a lizard. In the garden. We make our way "behind the scenes" to this utterly stupid static display of dusty photos and stuff of animals to learn how many animals the Zoo has. Over 9000 apparently, not including the lizards in the garden.  We then learn about parasites and darts while all the kids are saying "I can't seeeeeee....I can't seeeee....." My kid can't see either (because he can't see) and I am running the risk of coming across as a pushy mum by trying to get Aiden to the front of the crowd. Ugh!

It's now after 11am and we haven't seen any animals except for the lizard in the garden. We head to the animal hospital. This could be good. We tip-toe through an operating room where some sort of monkey is "under" and being operated on. COOL! I stop to take an action shot of the surgery with my fancy pants camera and completely get in trouble with one of the fun police Singapore Zoo workers. After a 2 second glimpse of an actual animal we are whisked into the X-ray room where everything is painted cream.

We then head to the animal kitchen where they prepare the food for the animals. How exciting. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO SEE ACTUAL ANIMALS?! Not in the kitchen apparently unless the animals are dead and about to be fed to other animals. While spending an indeterminable amount of time in the kitchen Aiden get's a nose bleed. I furiously dig into my bag knowing full well that there is nothing in their to mop up blood except his sun hat, which he needs to wear in the sun. Luckily there are organised  mummies close by who provide little packages of tissues and antibacterial wipes. Then Aiden, probably overwhelmed with the crapness of the Zoo so far and the fact that his nose is bleeding a lot, starts crying. So I join him. It's hot, it's a rubbish excursion, he can't see (though apparently most of the class also can't see) and I have turned into a pushy mummy. I decide it's ok to wear my sunglasses for the rest of the excursion.

It's now after midday and we still haven't seen any animals except for the lizard and dead chicken pieces  but we are heading to the polar bear enclosure for lunch. It's an awesome enclosure - big aquarium style piece of glass where you could watch the polar bears swim under the water or play on dry land. Kids and adults alike are excited. There are no bears. None. I eat my dead chicken sandwich.

The "behind the scenes tour" with no animals took so long that after the no-polar-bear lunch we head back to the bus. We went via the Orangutangs where Myra wanted me to write stuff on the clipboard and Aiden was more interested in the Zoo Tram. We then saw some other sort of Monkey and Myra again wanted me to write stuff down. Seriously, what is wrong with this kid? I told her I lost the pencil so she proceeded to search my bag for it.  It may have worked out better if Myra had looked after Aiden and I. I bet she had tissues and antibacterial wipes in her bag!

An elusive animal
On the way out I ask Aiden's teacher what she thought of the day. She tells me it was much better than last year. I may have attended my last excursion.

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