I‘ve spent this week in a state of panic, a panic that only other Bloggers can truly understand, the panic of having nothing to Blog about. Now I know that some of my less forgiving readers are probably thinking “that doesn’t usually stop you from cobbling together a couple of paragraphs, prettying it up with some cute photos of the boy and expecting us to read it” but I couldn’t even manage that. Max is usually very obliging when it comes to supplying me with Blog-worthy material but this week he simply hasn’t complied. Don’t get me wrong he has gone through his full repertoire of cute, thrown some almighty McEnroe-esque tantrums and generally been Max, but nothing that I feel is worth inflicting bestowing upon you.
There was nothing else for it, I would have to go and dig for some engineered Blog gold. Bereft of other ideas I decide that a trip to the zoo would surely throw up something of note; perhaps a gorilla would gently pluck Max from his pram and cradle him like one of her own? In recent times the word “car” which has been Max’s mantra for a while now and has become somewhat stale, has been usurped by the word “ella”. Ella, Max’s mantra du jour, is in reference to elephants rather than Rhianna’s catchy ditty featuring the immortal line “ella, ella, ella”. In a pleasing change of heart Max has decided that Ella’s are in fact far more impressive than cars, don’t get me wrong he still loses his shit every time he sees a car, but ella’s are more betterer. So the plan was, drive to the zoo, put the boy in front of an elephant and write about it, perfect!
Throughout the entire drive I had worked the boy into a frenzy, initiating ella chanting and screaming ella trumpet noises at the top of my voice. Armed with an idiot proof map complete with large arrows and pictures of each of the animals I set about getting lost and we end up walking past the monkey enclosure about five times. We did pass one monkey that pressed itself up against the glass, peed and then much to my everyone’s amusement dabbed up the wet bits with a finger and then sucked said finger. The viewing gallery was full of other parents and low and behold a quite majestical Dad joke popped into my head; just loud enough for everyone else to hear I mutter to Max “don’t you do that will you?”, sure enough it brought the house down and built up enough false confidence for me to offer up a second helping “let’s be honest we all do it don’t we?”, this comment was met with looks of horror and revulsion, we plodded on.
It seems that I was doing my best to dodge the elephant enclosure, we saw the lions, gorillas, tigers, giraffes, zebras, this was all well and good but were the f’ing f where the f’ing ella’s. By this point I cut a fairly pathetic figure, racing around like an angry Formula 1 driver (they are all fairly angry no?) getting increasingly annoyed by the camera that kept bouncing itself rhythmically off my hip bone. Eventually I smelt the unmistakable smell of elephant dung, a smell that must have travelled with me from my own childhood trips to the zoo, discarding my map I rely on my keen sense of smell to lead me to the ella’s.
Like a bloodhound on a trail we start to hear the ella’s trumpeting, it was as if they are calling us over. Max’s frenzy had reached fever pitch, “ELLA, ELLA, ELLA, ELLA, ELLA, ELLA!!!” is the chant. I pick the boy up so he is afforded a good view of the object of his desire and wham, right in front us charges the biggest bull elephant you will ever see, this thing was the size of eight regular elephants stacked on top of one another, if you could imagine such a thing and had tusks like spears, really, really, big, sharp spears. “Look Max Ella!” I shout with too much enthusiasm for a grown man, the reaction is not what I was hoping for, Max’s smile begins to turn downwards, his bottom lip starts to quiver, his eyes well up and he delivers an impressive rendition of Dustin Hoffman losing the plot in Rain Man.
The last place you want to be with a toddler who has acquired a sudden phobia for elephants is the zoo, the place is littered with sculptors, pictures, park rides and drawings of ella’s, all of which bring on another ‘Hoffman’ from the boy. We make a dash for the car bypassing the many stuffed elephant toys in the gift shop (result) as we go. The boy was still in a state of shock when we got home so I decide to settle him with an episode of Peppa Pig, I click on the only episode that we haven’t seen and we both sit down to enjoy “Edmond’s Birthday Party”. Low and behold Edmond turns out to b a sodding ella!