I am trying to teach my son to be gentle.
Last Sunday we went to the Farmer’s Market in Willy for some fresh fruit and grub. The centrally located petting zoo looked like the perfect spot for my kid to test out his gentle patting skills.
We have been here before, quite a few times actually, and the petting zoo owner recognised us saying: “This time, please don’t let your kid open the guinea pig gate. My babies get anxious when they run free.”
We got our little cup of animal seed and instantly my son poured this into his gumboot. He was so disappointed; he pulled off his gumboot and started eating the seeds. The minute he did this all the petted animals came sprinting over to him licking their lips (beaks).
Baby lambs, chickens, bunny rabbits and some tiny furry thing, perhaps a rat, came running at my son pecking him in every location trying to find a grain. My poor son. I reached down and grabbed him and realised he was laughing hysterically. He was enjoying being wrestled by farm creatures, rolling around in their shit with a mouthful of seed.
So I let him go and boy did he squeal. He chased after the animals, running them around in circles like a sheep dog, scarring the bejesus out of them, clapping like a mad man, all the while I’m shouting ‘gentle Alfie, gentle’. It was so joyful to watch, I was able to relax with another mum while our kids ran riot.
Then Alfie started getting rough. He is so obsessed with holes lately, that he realised the hole in the gate allowed him to reach the clasp. So he unlocked the gate. The hole in the pole along the side of the zoo fence allowed him to reach the fence peg. So he pulled the fence peg out and the side fell off. And the hole in the lamb’s backside was wear the poo came out. So he chased after the lamb, catching the poo.
Then he saw the teeny tiny baby guinea pig come out of a tunnel hole.
I went to grab him with his pooey hands and he saw me coming for him with my ‘time to go home’ face. He grabbed the baby guinea pig before I could reach him and held the animal close to his chest and ran to the corner with his back to me. I feared for an ‘Of Mice and Men’ moment where my son’s undying love for tiny furry animals would come to a sweet end. I released his grip by tickling him and the guinea pig coughed and ran back into his hole, scared forever more. My son eyed the hole off.
It was time to go. One near death experience was enough for this mum. Those poor, poor animals.
We got home and Cheef Dog was happily waiting for us at the side gate. He came running inside and Alfie ran after him, squealing and shouting ‘mumma, mumma’ (he calls the dog ‘mumma’ – let’s not go into this). Cheef Dog sprinted to the couch and I caught Alfie just before he got there. Alfie reached out his hand and firmly patted Cheef Dog across his back saying ‘dental teeth’ which I will take as ‘gentle Cheef’ over and over again.
‘Dental teeth, dental. Dental teeth, dental.’
Perhaps the petting zoo has helped him to get this gentle thing down pat?
This post first appeared on Bubba West.