For the most part, the zoo was fantastic. There was no monkey-poop hurling, no primate backpack humping, and as you can see, James was able to hold hands with his favorite girl all day long.
I don't want to be the parent who's all, "Oh look! They're gonna get married someday!" But really guys, they might get married someday. It's not the excessive hugging or handholding that leads me to this conclusion. I base this assertion on the fact that Sophia prefers to micromanage James's playtime, James like to steal Sophia's food, and they fight with a fiery passion. And really folks, those are the things that make a marriage.
Aside from the blatant cuteness of James's giggle, and the time I confidently told Beth that the primary difference between a monkey and a gorilla is language, my favorite part of the zoo was the clear, strong reminder that toddlers are completely clueless to the standards and expectations of adults.
Here is a non-zoo example: James and his friends think our apartment is amazing because it has two stories and a balcony. Yes, the balcony overlooks a trash-filled creek and our downstairs neighbor works the night shift at 7-11--but to a toddler, an occasional free slurpee at 7:30am is far superior to owning a four bedroom, three bath home that overlooks Whiterock Lake.
Here's another non-zoo example: James sat in a Dodge Viper at the State Fair of Texas. If I understand correctly, James believes that our Toyota wagon is sportier than the Viper because it has more cup holders, a car seat, and a place to put your quarters.
Well James, believe what you will, but your adorable little world is really kind of warped.
The zoo was no exception to this trend. James was nose to nose with an enormous, peaceful ape. Instead of drinking in the wonders of natures, he ran in the opposite direction to chase a boy with light-up shoes.
He was obsessed with the goldfish pond, but vehemently refused to gaze upon the area filled with florescent pink flamingos whose knees were bending in the absolute wrong direction. I was like, "LOOK at their JOINTS James. That's weird. DON'T YA THINK?"
And as we watched an elephant use its trunk to enthusiastically play some basketball, I heard James begin to whimper. I bent down and asked, "What's wrong pal?"
"Moyee," he said. "I wan see kitta cats. Is der kitta cats at da soo?" (translation: Mommy. I want to see kitty cats. Is there kitty cats at the zoo?)
I wanted to say something like, "Nope, no kitties. Because cats are everywhere, James--in our parking lot, in our gutters, in peoples' houses, in animal shelters. Elephants and anteaters are way cooler than cats, buddies. Cats really aren't so special."
But of course, I held my tongue. James has no idea that there's a difference in coolness between squirrels and meekrats, apartments and houses, no-names and Nikes--and I want to keep that attitude alive for as long as I possibly can.
It truly was a tender moment of motherhood. Unfortunately, it was quickly broken when I said "no" to a ride on the merry-go-round. In response to my refusal, James threw a temper tantrum that caught the attention of every penguin, snack vendor and mother within a one-hundred-and-fifty yard radius.
It was cute.
That was sarcastic.
As I walked to the car, carrying thirty-nine pounds of screaming, thrashing toddler, I thought to myself, "Well, that proves it. I still don't like the zoo."