Saturday, July 19, 2008

Adventures with goats and other fun stories

Whenever we have to make a trip to St. Louis for an appointment for O, we try and combine it with something fun. This takes the sting out of the long drive, the long wait in the office, and the prodding that O has to endure. So, for her yearly cleft team visit, we decided to stay in St. Louis for a couple of days and have some fun.

The first day, we decided to go to The City Museum. This place had been recommended to us by several people and we went in not really knowing what to expect--partially because nobody really knew how to explain and describe it to us. It's in an old factory in downtown St. Louis. It's a little part museum and a big part of playground. It's really cool for people of all ages and I would recommend it. The only thing that might hold an adult back is his or her size because if you are too big or not very limber, you aren't going to last long. There were caves, scaffolds, ramps, slides, an actual circus, and a host of other things. The best way to describe it is what would happen if Dr. Seuss, an architect, and a hippie all got together and made something. The City Museum would be the product of their efforts.

We explored the inside and then headed for the outside structure that made me wonder how in the world it ever passed a safety code. There we were--all 6 of us climbing on this metal structure into an abandoned airplane when the thought crossed my mind, "Why am I doing this?" We decided to head up to a slide that was really, really high in the air when L decided that he doesn't like heights. We suspected this before due to an unfortunate playground incident, but this time was really bad. O decided she didn't want to climb up that far, so she stayed with Mike on a lower level. J took off like some kind of monkey-child which left me with L and K. We were climbing on metal rods that had been soldered together into the shape of a triangle. At the top of the triangle, I was supposed to encourage (translation: push) L and K through a hole after which they would climb up a few more soldered metal objects to get to the slide. Easy, right?

Three year old K took it in stride. She wasn't afraid at all. L decided to look down at this point and suddenly froze. There he stood on the peak of the triangle, with his hands grasping the hole above him and he started to cry. Really, he started to scream--LOUDLY. I tried to coax him down, but he wouldn't let go. People were trying to get around him and couldn't. Monkey-child was long gone, Mike was down below with O who is now crying because she thinks her brother is going to become a permanent fixture in the museum, K is crying because I can't lead her onward to the slide, and L frozen in fear. I first had to remove K from the triangular mess and give her strict instructions to hold onto a pole and not move, then in my best "don't worry Mommy is here" voice, I talked Landon into squatting down and grabbing onto my neck. Once we were free from the triangle of terror, he started to sob and say rather loudly, "This place is so dangerous for children! Why isn't this illegal!"

The next day, after O's appointment, we decided to head to Grant's Farm thinking that a calm, laid back day seeing animals is just what the kids needed after spending the day before climbing and screaming in fear. Our first stop was the petting zoo. This area was filled with ducks and chickens where for a quarter you could purchase corn to feed them. There were parrots, rabbits and turtles to see and in the largest pen there were goats.

I don't know how many goats there were, but once we stepped foot inside their domain there seemed to be at least 100--although I'm sure it was more like 20 or something. I should preface this by saying that before we went to Grant's Farm, we stopped for lunch at Taco Bell where O spilled her taco down the front of her dress, the major portion of it being just at goat's eye level. So, before entering the pen, we bought two bottles of milk from the milk stand people who gleefully took our money and said, "Have fun!" They should've said, "BEWARE! OUR GOATS ARE PSYCHOTIC GLUTTONS!"

J entered through the turnstile first with a bottle. Immediately goats started leaping and pawing at him. He wasn't sure which mouth he should place the bottle into and instead of picking a goat, he just held the bottle above his head. This sent the goats into a frantic fit as they started nudging him to bring that bottle down lower. Next, Mike went in with L and O at his side. I followed behind with K and the camera. What Mike didn't realize is that somehow, two goats had made their way into the turnstile with them and not only were they blocking his path to get out, they had suddenly discovered that O smelled deliciously like a taco, so they started chewing on her dress. As he pushed his way through the gate, L took off running. Goats chased him since he was with taco girl and they thought he might be tasty, too. Mike was trying to protect O from becoming goat food with one hand and in the other he held a bottle. The goats, seeing the bottle and the delicious taco flavored girl, didn't know which side was better and I guess that's why they decided to divide and conquer. Some were chewing on O while the others were leaping onto Mike. O was screaming, so Mike flung the bottle at me which caused the goats to come after me and knock K over. L began to scream because these goats were finding his shorts quite tasty. There we stood in a mass of crazy goats, dripping bottles and screaming children and I looked around--not one single family in the pen was having this problem. Everywhere around us, children were giggling and giving out little shrieks of delight. Parents were taking videos and pictures and here was our family being tortured by this gang of goats!

I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but somehow, we got Mike and the three younger ones out of goat hell and J and I fed what remained of our bottles to a couple of the more polite, subdued customers. We walked away from that pen feeling slightly violated and very exhausted. O summed it up best, "I don't know why those disgusting creatures are even allowed in this place."

The rest of our day was good. We had a great time and came home fully worn out. After such a long day, I think I lost my ability to parent effectively because at bedtime when L and K had a MMP (meltdown of mass proportions) and O, having had enough of their crying and whining came out of her room and kicked them both, I actually fell onto the hallway floor and laughed until I cried. I couldn't help myself and the more they cried, the harder I laughed. Suddenly, they stopped crying about bedtime snacks and uncomfortable panties and looked at me like I had completely lost my mind.

It was an effective way to squelch a MMP. I think I'll try it more often.

If you'd like to see pictures of our St. Louis adventure, click on the flickr badge at the top of the page.

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

WE WERE THERE!! Today, with the goats. I feel like we should all form a post-traumatic stress group over this. THANK YOU. You were not the only family ravaged by hellish goats.