I'm sitting here with my laptop firmly affixed to my lap, and I'm worrying just a smidge about radiation that might be seeping into my femurs after reading an article in Parents magazine about "Our children are internalizing too much radiation! Make them use a headset when they talk on a cell phone! Make them keep their laptops on a table! Don't let them stand in front of running microwaves!" (I added the last one. Those science ovens...) (An homage to what is, I believe the last movie that I have seen. And I saw it in the theater. About 16 months ago.)
But seriously. For what is generally a reputable magazine, there was all sorts of fear tactics at play in this article. Bad editing, editors. (You might suggest that this last sentence is also a circumstance of bad editing, but I would politely request you to stuff it. This is all one draft all the way.)
You might be thinking right about now that I haven't gotten anywhere close to a point yet with any of this. And you might be very right. So I'll reign it in and say this: zoos should absolutely have an up-to-date calendar of which large groups are visiting each day. Theoretically, someone might like to take her two daughters to a zoo on an "e-learning day" (which I promptly turned into a non-e-learning field trip). That same someone might have wanted to grab a handful of red, Georgia soil and mutter "With God as my witness...!" (I'm on fire...that's another reference.)
I may live a few zip codes away from the zoo now, but I can recognize a long-distance zoo field trip from the names on the sides of those buses any day. That was today. I can also recognize a meltdown brewing with my claustrophobic, my-personal-space-needs-to-be-the-size-of-this-entire-zoo-and-I'd-prefer-to-be-the-only-visitor-today daughter.
I've been on a field trip as a teacher to a zoo (shocking, given my subject matter and the age of my students...I basically whelched on another teacher's trip and no one challenged it), and it's a good time to be had by all. I dig it that we have a great zoo within spitting distance that is so impactful on the community and does so much for educational outreach. But it would be some sweet, sweet sugar if we could go just once without having 500+ munchkins and all of their paraphernalia there as well. (I'm not exaggerating; there were probably 20 buses clogging up the works, and I'm positive that there was some other parent-brings-the-child field tripping going on also.) We've been having some bad luck with our timing dating back to last year and the day of the summer camp zoo experience.
Irregardless of my mild grumbling, we elbowed our way through to see what I thought was a greater than usual amount of activity, including some nose time with a lion and a boa constrictor. After we returned home and after some subsequent play time, the Elder and I were chumming on the back patio before dinner doing our respective things, which included working together through an activity making similes using animals (e.g. "I walk like __________" becomes "I walk like a dog" or some such statement). Well, the Elder decided that she runs like a cheetah, which isn't the easiest of words to sound out. My general M. O. when helping with homework is to let the little things go and make sure that she's understanding and completing the overall package. Generally speaking, I help with the spelling is something like readability is compromised or if she specifically asks. And I am here to tell you that the Elder turned in one of my favorite homework gems of the year tonight, unbeknownst to her.
"I run like a cheeto" is my new personal credo. That just about sums it up.