‘The rat is eating the hat’

Today is my birthday. Yay for me!

It has been a wonderful day so far. I’m writing this as The Norwegian is feeding The Boy and will be doing bath and bed. Ah free time.

Later we’ll be having sushi and prosecco. All part of the birthday festival that started on Friday and will stretch to next weekend. More on that later.

This morning starts with a lie-in and breakfast in bed. A two-course breakfast in bed, followed by pressie opening. Awesome.

After that I head to Taronga Zoo. I haven’t been for ages – not since The Boy learned to walk and apart from the odd flight of stairs, it is eminently toddler proof. Perfect.

But as we roll up, I realise it is SWARMING with children. Ah b*gger I think. School holidays. I’d forgotten. But then I think – the zoo is so big. It’ll be all right.

Regular readers will recall we are having ‘challenges’ with The Boy hitting and pushing. But as most of the children doing the swarming are older, they are not in great danger from The Boy. In fact I had two mothers apologising to me for their sons’ behaviour. I start thinking I love school holidays. Happy birthday indeed.

Despite the crowds The Boy loves it. And what’s his favourite thing? The lions perhaps? Or the penguins?

No, his favourite thing is jumping up and down on a grate by the bins. We are opposite the chimp enclosure.

‘Look! Chimpanzees. Aren’t they lovely?’

Jump jump jump.

‘Look those two are hugging. It’s so cute.’

Jump jump jump.

‘Did you know Chimpanzees are 98% the same as humans?’

He looks up at me and points at the grate. His face says, ‘Mama smokin’ crack pipe ‘gain? Grate. It make noise when jump. Grate. Jump.’

He has a very expressive face.

The other highlight of the day is at the meerkat enclosure. I am holding The Boy up balancing on the wall. After trying to wiggle out of my arms and into the enclosure, he whips off his hat, his beautiful, hand-knitted-by-his-Welsh-Norwegian-Nana hat, and flings it into the enclosure. He has a very good throwing arm.  An assembled gang of five-year-olds, all wearing identical peach t-shirts emblazoned with ‘Happy Daze Vacation Care’ gasps as one. A bold meerkat runs over to the hat and starts scrabbling at it with his little paws and gnawing at it with his little teeth.

‘The rat is eating the hat,’ says one of the HDVC kids. Perhaps a devotee of Dr Seuss?

I look around for a keeper of some description wondering if meerkats have been been known to die from ingesting Norwegian knitted items. I imagine a life-time ban for killing one of the zoo’s most beloved animals in front of a gang of fascinated children.*

In the end I ring the zoo’s main switchboard. (What did we do before smart phones?) They are marvellous, probably used to far worse things being thrown into the various enclosures. They swiftly send a keeper to come and fish it out using a long silver pole with a two-pronged ‘grabber’ at the end. More gasps.

The hat was intact and none of the meerkats looked worse for wear. Phew.

Taronga. Expect us again soon.

*No meerkats were harmed in the creation of this post.


  1. Allen! Allen! Allen?

  2. Rachel Wight · ·

    Vivid picture of Lukas and his antics, We can just imagine being there. You must take me to the zoo when we are visiting.

  3. Naomi · ·

    Great blog Jen, I’m looking forward to the next post!

  4. Rachel Wight · ·

    Vivid word pictures of Lukas and his time at the zoo. Brilliant for grandparent oohs and ahhs.

  5. Nana Janette Winnem · ·

    Really tickled red,white and blue by this this very entertaining story Jen! The little fella will provide masses of excellent material for you for years and years! Trust the meercats survived being bombarded by Norwegian winter gear. In Norway we eat them rolled in a sort of pancake.

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