As I have mentioned before, our family frequents the zoo on a very regular basis. It is one of the few things that we can do as a family. We have gone so far as to invest in the annual pass, and go winter, spring, summer, or fall. On Saturday we decided to go, so we packed the family up and drove the half an hour to get there.
L. was really off. I realized to late that we had neglected to give him his medication. That's something we don't forget very often, because it tends to have disastrous consequences. The further we progressed through the park, the worse he got. We made it to the carousel, which he normally enjoys. But the second they started the ride up, he tried to bale. I mean he was whining and saying he wanted off, and kept trying to stand up, which of course I wouldn't let him do. I threatened him with leaving if he didn't straighten up, and he didn't.
Once we got off of the carousel, I told my husband that we should head back to the van, that I had told L. if he didn't shape up we couldn't stay. That's when the real fireworks began. We tried to leave the zoo and he had a complete break down. L. tried to bite, pinch, scratch, and mortally wound my husband. He was screaming and crying and fighting us. There we were with four children, one of which is the size of an adult and temper tantruming, half way to the car, with no idea how we were going to get him out of there.
It is very difficult having a child like L. You love him very much, you want the best for him. He is your child, your flesh and blood. While it was very embarrassing to have him behave that way in public, the worst part is the judgement past upon you by total strangers. Everyone stopped what they were doing and just stared. For that moment in time I understood how the animals must feel, in their cages, being gawked at by all of those people. At some point someone called security. They must have thought we were either harming him or kidnapping him. We had to follow through on our threat, so we just continued to try and get him out of there.
The man wearing the red shirt with SECURITY boldly printed on it at least kept some well meaning individuals from approaching us. He was able to help my husband get our son to the parking lot where I had pulled the van up to the curb. To be honest I am completely surprised we didn't make the evening news. It was quite a disturbance. By the time it was over my husband and I were completely drained. I wondered too, how it had affected the other children. I guess you win some and you loose some. But boy it hurts to loose.
The next day my husband 'climbed back on the horse' so to speak and took L. back by himself to the zoo, to show L. that if he behaved he could stay at the zoo. The biggest surprise of all was that he got L. to ride one of the animals on the carousel that moves up and down. To this date he had only ridden on the stationary ones. I could have fallen over from shock when he showed me the picture of our son, grinning broadly as he sat upon the lion.