Just in case it wasn't stressful enough to have to pack up the house and make ourselves scarce for three weeks to facilitate a bathroom remodel, the Hubby is in the midst of opening another new restaurant location, which means he's working around the clock and unable to be of much assistance in either the parenting or moving departments. As we've learned in the past, me being left to my own devices for days on end never turns out very well, despite my attempts to rally. I'm ashamed to admit that this weekend was no exception.
Sunday morning I made plans to meet up with a friend and her daughter at a place called The Gentle Barn. If you're not familiar with this venue, it's essentially an animal rescue organization that functions as a sort of petting zoo, where you can brush cows, feed horses, and hang out with pigs or chickens. It was my friend's idea to take the kiddos there, and I wholeheartedly agreed, assuming that the Muffin Man would absolutely love seeing all the animals that he reads about in his Peek a Who? book in living color. And so, Sunday morning I slathered both myself and my son with sunscreen, packed up some snacks, and made the trek out to Santa Clarita.
Shockingly, the 40 minute car ride went off without a hitch. Noah took a little nap, I didn't run out of gas or get lost, and we arrived only about half an hour late to meet up with our friends. When I opened the car door we were greeted with a blast of desert air and the odor of barnyard. I strapped Noah into the Ergo, stuck a hat on each of our heads, and queued up for what I assumed would be an unforgettable experience.
I should've realized right away that the day wasn't going to be a huge success when I reached my had into my purse to pay our entrance fees and discovered an inch-deep puddle of almond milk. While this wasn't exactly an ideal situation (and one from which my cell phone is still trying to recover), I knew I could quickly mop up the mess with the package of baby wipes I always have on my person... jsut as soon as they finally let us in. Twenty minutes and one screaming toddler later, we made it in the gate and then were corralled into some sort of pen to hear a spiel about the animals and how they find them and blah blah blah. Look, I'm all for rescuing abused animals and not eating meat, but I would prefer to discuss it when I'm not 45 months pregnant and standing in the blistering sun with a wailing child strapped to my chest. A few minutes into the presentation my mothering instincts overtook my politeness, and I escaped the lecture to try to connect with our friends and clean up the lagoon of milk in my handbag.
After cleaning up the mess, waiting on line for ten minutes to buy a bottle of water and a tofu dog, and stopping to use the port-a-potty, it was time to see the animals. We started with the horses, because everybody loves horses, right? Wrong! It turns out my son is absolutely terrified of horses, unless they happen to be a charming illustration residing solely in the pages of The Little Blue Truck. Noah cried and hid his head when we even came within 10 feet of one of the beautiful equines in their stalls. Even the miniature horse was a total bust. Okay, no problem, there were lots of other barnyard creatures to choose from. Next, we tried the cows, since they're lazy and don't move and every other kid in the whole place seemed to be having an amazing time brushing them. Strike two. Noah couldn't get away from those stinky beasts fast enough. Finally, we decided to try the pigs and the chickens. We waited another 20 minutes until our allotted porcine-viewing time slot, and climbed the steep hill to the pig pen/chicken run. I'm sorry to tell you that "the other white meat" wasn't a hit either. In fact, Noah was so desperate to get the heck out of that animal pen that he actually tried to run away (remember now, my kid doesn't even walk yet), fell over his own two feet, and landed right in a puddle of chicken poop. Abject terror combined with a shirt full of chicken sh*t does not for a happy toddler make. My kiddo screamed at the top of his lungs, scaring the crap out of pretty much every man, woman, and livestock at the Gentle Barn. I grabbed my sobbing kid (trying to avoid getting chicken poop on myself as well) and hightailed it out of there before we caused further trauma to those poor, abused animals.
Needless to say, the experience was a total bust. Thankfully, Noah seems to have recovered from his afternoon on the farm. My car, however, may never quite be rid of the stench of chicken poop, which I suppose will simply serve as a reminder that my son prefers his animals in illustrated form.