Saturday, June 21, 2008
Eating Nemo by Jon
This summer I have an amazing opportunity to stay at home and watch Kaden. I truly love spending time with him and doing new things with him every day. I know that he is only 20 months old and that he probably won't remember these outings but I think that it is good to get him out of the house and to go places with him. I am not saying that the "Father of the Year" award is in the bag or anything but I will say that I was so proud of myself the other day when I thought of the perfect outing for Kaden and myself. I wanted to take him somewhere that he would enjoy and have fun. I wanted to take him some where that I would enjoy and have fun. His obsession with Fish and Animals makes the Zoo a top choice. It is fun and exciting for him to see the different animals as well as educational so that his mind will be stimulated. The only problem with the Zoo is that it is in downtown, at least a 30 minute drive, will cost me $12 to get in, we will only be able to stay a couple of hours before we have to get Kaden back for a nap, and one of the biggest concerns is that the blazing Texas heat can make the experience with a cranky 20 month old a little less than a perfect father son outing. But I (soon to be "Father of the Year") have thought of the perfect thing to do that gets all of the benefits of the Zoo with none of the drawbacks. CABELLAS! It is full of his favorite animals (just because they are stuffed doesn't make them any less of his favorite animals), has giant aquariums, is less than 5 minutes from our house, doesn't cost anything to enter, and is air conditioned! What could be more perfect? I am telling you, I was really quite smitten with myself for thinking of this genius idea. When we get there and roll through the doors Kaden immediately started pointing out the different animals and just looked awestruck by the different types of birds, Elk, goats, deer, and moose that lined the walls. I walk him over to aquariums to look at the fish. He is so excited and fascinated by the fish and especially the turtles that are in the tank. (I am telling you, at this point I can't stop mentally patting my self on the back and thinking of what we should clear off the mantel for that "FOTY award") We go inside the walk through part of the aquarium and start looking at the really big fish. I look on the wall and see that they feed the fish twice a week on Monday's and Fridays at 12:00pm and you can watch. It is our luck that when I see this it is 11:45am on a Friday and they are going to feed them in 15 minutes. Knowing how much Kaden loves to feed the fish at "D" and Pappa's house I am giving myself a standing ovation for truly picking the perfect outing that could quite possibly go down as Kaden's best day of life to date. Since we had already been looking at the fish for a good 20 minutes and they were not really that active I figured that I would go look around the store for a Father's Day gift for my dad (Kaden's "Pappa") and then we could come back to see the big fish get all worked up for some fish food. This plan also allowed me to do some practical things like pick up a Father's Day gift with out having to continually get Kaden in and out of the car. (I hope at this point you are seeing the genius of this trip from multiple different levels.) As we finish up looking for some shirts that my dad might be able to use on his fishing trip to Alaska this summer I realize that it is 12:02 and we should go back over to the aquarium. As we walk in there is an employee that has some buckets of different things and looks like he has been talking to the small crowd of people standing there and says, “If there aren’t any more questions I will climb up there and feed the fish.” About 30 seconds later we are watching the tank closely and from the top of the water all of these flakes start coming down, kind of like big rice. The fish suddenly perk up and start jumping after this food. It really is kind of neat. It sparks my interest and the interest of all of those around which by know is almost a full crowd that fills the aquarium tunnel which we stand directly in the middle of surrounded on all sides. The fish eat the flakes for a couple of minutes when all the sudden I see this little perch jump into the aquarium. Now he is a pretty little guy and there are all of these really big fish swimming around, and right as I put two and two together that perch disappeared and the very large fish that was next to it had a tiny perch tail hanging out the side of his mouth. At this point I guess It would have been beneficial to hear that employee’s little talk about what he was going to do before I took my 20 month old to see Faces of Death: aquatic style. I am still thinking to myself that this probably won’t be that bad, some of those perch blend in really well and are getting picked off pretty quick so maybe Kaden won’t see them. And then all of the sudden I hear a word that I was surprised I had not heard yet come out of my son’s mouth, “NEMO!” as I look up to see gold fish being dumped into the tank. Not the scrawny gold fish that you win at the fair for tossing a ping pong ball in the little gold fish bowl, no these were gold fish that were the larger size you would see at Petsmart, the kind Kaden likes to look at in the back yard at “D” and Papa’s. They are big bright fresh meat for these gargantuan monsters swimming around the tank. There was no mistaking that these little Nemo’s were being dumped into the tank swimming their hardest to get to the bottom where they could see some cover only to be snapped up in the blink of an eye. I looked down at Kaden to get his reaction, and really not knowing what to do and whether we should leave or if that would cause more of a scene or what type of action I should take. But I look at his face and for the first time I can remember I see real confusion in his eyes and on his face. He is not sad, he is not upset, He was just sitting there perplexed and every now and then he would mutter “Nemo”. I hope that did not spur on night mares, I hope that he might have learned a little about the scientific food chain, but most of all I hope that he will not bottle it up some day to spill this story to a therapist while trying to find out why he is afraid to love because his father took him to see his first love, “Nemo” get devoured and torn to shreds in front of his face. But as for the “Father of the Year” Award…There is always next year.