Hey, Mr. Kangaroo Man. Did you know that kangaroos can jump weally, weally high?

My friend Natalie and I don't see each other nearly enough.  She knows it.  I know it.  It is inexcusable.  It started many years ago when I decided to move away, and got even more complicated over the years as we added a selection of kids, animals, houses, etc. to the mix.

But yesterday, we decided to meet halfway and to take the kids to a local attraction called Kentucky Down Under.  It's a place in the middle of Kentucky pretending to be Australia, with all the animals, boomerangs, and didgeridoos necessary to fool any four year old.

It's was a great idea, right?  She has kids, I have kids, we'll meet in the middle at a nice park-like atmosphere, let the kiddos run off and play, and catch up with each other.  Right?  Right?

Seems like I kind of forgot what kind of child I birthed.  You know, the four year old.  The fearless one. The super-hyper, extremely energetic one.  The one who cannot be still.  The one who cannot follow even the simplest direction.   The one with a zest for life.

Soooo... the fun began.  We were on the road.  Within 5 minutes of leaving the house, I hear "Mama.  Mama.  MAMA.  I have to go PEE!"  Quick u-turn, right back home, pee-sideline: check.

We arrived without much more drama, thank goodness.

So, the first thing we did was walk up a hill that was approximately a 45 degree incline, uphill, both ways for about an hour to make it to the sheep herding dog show.

We were on a wooden observation deck that looked out over a lovely rolling green pasture full of sheep. Zj immediately began to hang over the edge.  At different points, both Natalie and I were holding onto different body parts in order to keep him from falling 40 feet to the ground.  Good news - the only casualty was an Hannah's earring, which was retrieved later by Christian, who has mad fence climbing skills.

The dog came out.  He was beautiful.  He ran majestically across the field toward the sheep.  He got to them, and promptly forgot what he was doing.  The nice man in the authentic-looking Australian hat had to go herd the sheep for us.  It was quite a show.  We left before the nice man had managed to herd the sheep all the way up to the fence.  Do you clap for sheepherding men?  Tip them maybe?  I am so out of practice with my shepherd etiquette.

Next stop on the walkabout - a lorikeet cage.  We all got these little cups of nectar and the birds landed right on us and ate from our cups.  We almost got kicked out (both times we went through this one) because zj would not stop running, and apparently the birds aren't smart enough to get out of the way and could get stepped on.  Whatever.  Any group of birds that doesn't have enough collective sense not to get STEPPED ON might just deserve what it gets.  Survival of the fittest, you know.  Plus, it really freaked me out that the birds kept landing on and pecking around in my hair.  What did they think they were going to find in there?  What had they found in the hair of tourists past that kept them coming back for more?

Next: an interesting presentation from a man who could not quite figure out how to use his Brittany Spears microphone.  I clearly heard every third word.  Amazingly, zj sat still for this one.  There was talk of spears, and boomerangs, and shields.  All things my hero-loving child could appreciate.  Every time the nice man  asked for a volunteer, zj raised his hand.  He finally got picked and got to play a didgeridoo in front of a live studio audience.  He loved it, and he loved the attention, even if he was not totally good at following directions, and even though he almost hit the presenter in a sensitive spot with the didgeridoo.

After that, we went our pre-appointed spot at our pre-appointed time for our cave tour.  Zj immediately ran across a chain fence and up a not-meant-to-be-climbed-upon rock formation that had many dangerous sharp points and looked like a bad idea to have in a kid-friendly park.  You know that crazy-eyed look you see some Mamas with when they can't possibly seem to control their children?  Yeah, that was me.  All day.  After zj was successfully retrieved from the giant scary rock of death, we got ready to go on the cave tour.  The stroller had to stay outside, which left me carrying cj, a 20 pound lump, and trying to hold onto zj so he wouldn't get away.  I looked at Natalie outside the cave and said "I'm pretty sure no good can come of this."  I'm also pretty sure that was the only conversation we got to have all day.  Anyway, thank goodness for Holly, who kept zj from impending doom in the cave, and who was also the only person who could read the map or remember what time we needed to be anywhere.  Let's hear it for teenagers!!!

Where was I?  Oh yes, the cave of doom.  Have you ever tried walking through a cave, carrying a one year old, trying to keep a four year old from jumping to his death, wearing Crocs on the slippery cave floor,  and all the while, the tour guide will NOT SHUT UP.  It would have taken like 10 minutes max to get through the cave, but NOOOOOO, they had to stretch it out for almost an hour so we can get our money's worth.  Good God.

We made it out, totally unharmed, I might add.  Cj broke off a precious priceless stalagmite from the cave wall, but we discreetly dropped it outside the cave, and no fines were issued.  Lunch was next, and it was uneventful, relatively speaking.

I feel certain that we did some other things at this point, but the crazy-eye had all but consumed me at this point, and the memory is a bit vague.  The next thing I actually remember was the highlight of the day.  The reason we came. The exciting part.  We got to go see the KANGAROOS!

These were, quite literally, the only pictures I took all day.  I was too traumatized to remember I even had a camera until the end.  But don't Cassie, Hannah and Zackie look cute petting the terribly bored, anti-social kangaroo?

Of course, the kangaroos were 70 years old, nearly dead, and all asleep.  But whatever.  The kids liked it.  Of course, during the entire kangaroo presentation, led by an earnest young man who was probably just trying to earn enough keg money for the weekend, zj kept asking questions and interjecting comments.  "Mr. Kangaroo Man, did you know that kangaroos can jump weally, weally high?"  I'm pretty sure he knew.  "Mr. Kangaroo Man, what is that black bird?"  Oh, the one he just talked about for TEN MINUTES?  He's glad to answer your questions, kid.

But then it was over. 

And although Natalie and I agreed that next time we would do something totally non-interactive, like sit on a couch somewhere, I was sad to be leaving my friend.  But I was glad that we all got out alive.

So Natalie, when you read this, let's start planning a real date soon.  Something like this, or if we're feeling like shopping, how about this?  Or maybe something as simple as this.  Ah.  Bloody Marys.  Anyway, lets plan some grown-up time soon, ok?  These children wear me out.

1 comment:

  1. You forgot about the following exchange:
    MJ- "ZJ, they have rules here and you must follow the rules."
    ZJ- "Wules? I don't follow wules, Mama."

    Such a fun day!!! Although I do think it would be really fun to actually have a conversation with you. You know, one where we complete sentences and say smart things to each other? Maybe some day!


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