Dad In Training

A Dad & his children head to the zoo

08/09/2014 22:47

What better way to boost your confidence in the early stages after adding a second child to the equation than a day out in charge of both of them by yourself? Well either that or I'd lost my marbles, but thats the approach I decided to take on my day off from work last week. I dropped my frazzled wife at the spa for some much needed rest and headed for the zoo with a 16 month old, an 8 week old and with all of my fingers crossed that the day would go smoothly. And if the day didn't go smoothly? Well at least it would be a trying time in familiar surroundings at one of my favourite places; Cotswold Wildlife Park.


If you're going to take a toddler to the zoo, then my top recommendation is to make sure you've read plenty of books that feature animal characters with them first. Clayton had seen his fare share of animals in books and we had mimicked their behaviour and sounds to bring the stories to life. Those reading and play experiences meant he could relate to many of the enclosures and seeing him recognise exotic animals made me feel a little bit proud. One of the first animals I thought he would recognise was the giraffe. He has a large giraffe on his bedroom wall and therefore sees it every day. The giraffe enclosure at Costwold Wildlife Park has a raised viewing area that allows you to view these gentle giants at eye level and I always enjoy admiring them from a height. At first I didnt spot any and assumed they were all outside in the open. I pushed the pram up against the fence and went to lean over and take a look and at that moment one appeared. She had been bent down eating and we hadn't seen her at first, but now she had appeared right in front of little mans face unexpectedly! Cue meltdown number one!



I felt so sorry for him being startled like that and blamed myself for pushing his pram up against the fence in the first place. I had to redeem myself at the first oportunity and as a result, we shared our first ever ice cream cone. It was great to have a treat away from the ongoing diet and even better to watch his face as he experienced it for the first time. Sharing it and getting messy together made it all the more memorable!



The weather was so kind to us all day long. The sun was out and it was lovely and warm and that meant the animals were all out basking in the rays and easy to spot. We saw lions, rhino's, monkeys and zebra but Clayton paid little attention to most of them but enjoyed walking alongside me, feeling all grown up whilst his sister was strapped to my chest and uncharacteristically screaming without pausing for breath. It wasn't until we went to see the wolves that Claytons curiosity peaked again. "Woof". "woof". "WOOF". Apparently these wolves are in the same bracket as the dogs we watch being walked on our estate and it was great that he was recognising animals. We next came across an array of water birds on the lake and our big boy gave everyone within earshot a performance of various "quacks". I was starting to think that I could have saved some money and just taken him for his usual walk near our home if his favourite sightings had actually only been dogs and ducks! But then we came across a new one. Clayton has seen penguins in numerous books and tv shows over the last few months, but I wasnt expecting him to recognise them when we headed for their enclosure, but he did. Not only did he recognise them but he added the word 'penguin' to his vocabulary without prompting!



By the end of the day I was amazed to find that I had coped with them both by myself for the first time. Not only had I coped and overcome multiple obstacles, but I had actually had a really good day at the same time. Being stuck at work so frequently, I always seem to be missing out on mini milestone moments as our children grow quicker than I'd like and I was chuffed to bits to monopolise some of those moments for myself. I hadn't taken it in at the time but looking back now, I realise that that had been Alice's first trip to the zoo, Claytons first ice cream cone and he'd recognised and shouted the word 'penguin' for the first time. I wanted to remember the day even if they wouldn't and decided that a soft toy for both children would be something to help jog memories. I plucked out a penguin for Clayton to mark the occasion and a giraffe for Alice who had slept through the incident in that enclosure.



I loved my day with the 2 little ones at the zoo, even if Alice did do her best to scream for the entire duration. At least the commotion had tired her out eventually and by the time we made it to the car she was sound asleep. In fact, by the time we collected Mummy from her day at the spa, both of them were passed out looking like butter wouldn't melt. She probably thought she'd missed nothing at all...





Topic: A Dad & his children head to the zoo

Date: 17/09/2014

By: julie

Subject: great

I love how you really want to be involved with the kids, so many dads don't bother! Sounds like you all had a fab day x


Date: 12/09/2014

By: Nayna Kanabar


Looks like everyone had great time.Lovely pictures too.


Date: 11/09/2014

By: Pinkoddy

Subject: Well done

What a great job you did. Shame all husbands/dads aren't as great as you. I do like Cotswold Wildlife park but actually we tend to go to Cotswold Farm Park more - sounds like we should make the switch.


Date: 10/09/2014

By: Polly

Subject: well done

nice to see a dad taking them out and giving mum a rest for the day :)


Date: 10/09/2014

By: Manneskjur

Subject: Love the Cotswold Wildlife Park

We used to take my older ones there when they were little - so good that you had nice weather, it's not fun there in the rain! x


Date: 10/09/2014

By: Ness

Subject: Zoo day

What a lovely thing to do for your wife. I always have to have at least one child with me wherever I go.


Date: 10/09/2014

By: Emma- The Mini Mes and Me

Subject: Family fun

I love the baby wearing selfie!
Cotswold is such a lovely wildlife park and it's great you got to go with them x


Date: 10/09/2014

By: Rachel

Subject: Best place!

I absolutely love going to the Zoo, I can literally stand for hours and hours and just watch everything x


Date: 10/09/2014

By: Jen aka The Mad House

Subject: Good for you

When we had two little ones (14 month gap) husbeast used to take them out every saturday AM, so I could have a lie in. So many people asked him why he was babysitting. He used to tell them he was parenting no babysitting. I applaud you for taking them both out and giving your wife a rest.

Oh and Maci was challenging in that he had colic and screamed all the time. He is nine now and a joy, a real joy!