Things We Lost at the Zoo

This year for Christmas, our family received a zoo membership. My brother and sister-in-law gave it to us with straight faces, showing off their black belts in Ironic Gift Giving.

This is what it looks like to take nine kids to the zoo:

Which is identical to what it looks like when grown-ups are completely off-their-rockers CRAZY.

Which is identical to what we call having a blast.

And now, for your reading pleasure, I present:
Things We Lost at the Zoo

1.  My nephew’s dignity.

Maybe you’ve seen the movie, A Christmas Story, once or twice. Or maybe, like my family, you’ve seen it fifty-hundred times. If so, you’re familiar with Randy and his snowsuit.

Randy and his snowsuit:

My nephew and his snowsuit:

Later that same day:

And still later:


2. Cai lost his first tooth.


“Mom? I fink this chicken nugget has a bone in it.”
“Sure enough, Cai. It does! But, honey, that’s your bone.”



3. Some of us lost our way.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one that said, Staff Only: DO NOT ENTER.
~Robert Frost



4. And we all lost our innocence.

But it turned out OK, because the turtles hastily pulled up their blanket and yelled, “Getoutgetoutgetout!” Later, when they were dressed, they went into the kids’ bedrooms and explained that they were just wrestling. And then, for the rest of their mommy and daddy little turtle lives, they ALWAYS REMEMBERED TO LOCK THE BEDROOM DOOR. Which is a valuable lesson, indeed.


And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how we do the ZOO.

Thanks, Jeff and Kim, for an AWESOME family gift of time and memories. My very favorite kind.

All of Us


And Happy New Year, Everyone!
From the Zoo to You:


ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
  1. OMGosh, too funny!!!

  2. Oh My – stop – I’m gonna pee my pants.
    Love the card … peaceful cattle and prosperous children … now that IS a good blessing!
    Blessings for a joyous New Year (with or without the moocows) ~

  3. Hilarious! Clearly a sign that your new year will be filled with excitement.

  4. Okay, but we saw GIRAFFES doing at the zoo when we were kids. You do not soon forget a humungous giraffe ding dong. You do not.

    1. HA! Sex education; brought to you by the zoo. I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall for that conversation!

  5. I had no idea turtles were so freaky.

    On the occasions when the “turtles” that I know lock their door, the baby turtle always wants to know why. And Mama turtle would like to preserve his innocence, so the grown ups always pretend that they had no idea how that door got locked. But when it does come time to explain for real, I will take comfort in knowing that there were only ever 2 turtles at a time behind that locked door.

    Cai looks adorable.

    1. It’s the “That’s funny. How did this art project get into the trash??” method adapted for the bedroom. Nice!

  6. Looks like you had an eventful day! The turtles are cracking me up!

    1. They were my favorite. Although listening to my sister-in-law describe the kids watching the graphic elephant birthing montage (which I missed because – hello! – there was an elephant ear stand nearby!) where the baby elephant and intact amniotic sac fall from the mama’s gigantic hoo-ha to the earth… only to have the sac explode on impact… worth the admission to the zoo.

  7. The amount of time I just spent laughing at your puffy nephew could, in some cultures, be considered cruel.

    1. Heh heh. Probably more cruel to do it in front of his face. Which I did. Several times. Thank God his mama started it.

  8. i see mommy turtle! i see daddy turtle! i see…wait a minute!

  9. Beth, was this the Portland Zoo? What a great post! have you ever thought about putting all your posts in a PDF file and then someday into a hardback book?

    1. Sure enough! It was the Oregon Zoo, Betty.

      And thanks for your sweet book comments. I’ve kicked around several ideas (and my sis-in-law, aka marketing guru, has kicked me in the hind-end even more ;)), but haven’t yet settled on a plan. I sure appreciate the ideas and encouragement, though!

  10. Can I brag? Great, thanks! Last year, my in-laws got us a zoo membership and several times (like at least 10-15) took my 3 boys, now 4 years old and younger, to the zoo all by myself. I got lots of “wow, you’re crazy” looks and many more “you’ve got your hands full” comments. In all honesty, it was really easy. I carried the youngest in the ergo, the middle loves the stroller so that’s where he stayed and the oldest walked and joined his brother in the stroller if he got too tired. It was a great way to get exercise, entertain the littles and get out of the house. We will be buying another one this year.

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