Sometime last spring we took Cullen on his first carousel ride at the zoo. He was apprehensive and seemed nervous, and didn’t really show all that much interest in it during subsequent trips back to see the animals. Then, earlier this summer, we were having lunch in the grass right next to the carousel, and all of the other kids were pointing and running over to the horses to get a closer look. Of course, Cullen had to join the party, and next thing I knew we were buying tokens to go for another ride.
He had a total meltdown the minute I put him on a horse, and forced me to climb on and ride it with him in order to get through it. Every trip to the zoo for the next few months was very similar — begging to ride the horses, and then crying with fear as soon as he actually got on. Totally ridiculous!
Last weekend, we went to a concert at the zoo – just the two of us. The concert was in the big lawn directly next to the carousel, and given his new-found love of making animal noises, Cullen would not stop pointing and neighing in the direction of the carousel house. Eventually, I obliged. I sat him on the horse, he squirmed and started to cry, and I refused to give in. At 33 weeks pregnant, I was not hauling myself onto a horse.
As soon as the music started and we began to circle, his face lit up. Fear turned to joy, and my little guy could not get enough. I spent the rest of the night listening to him neigh like a horse and begging to go on again and again. We did three rides in three hours before I finally convinced him that the horses had gone to bed for the night.
I’ve asked him what he wanted to do every morning this week, and each time I’ve gotten the same answer – neighing followed by “UP DOWN!” – what a nut. This morning we headed back to the zoo, and in addition to visiting our favorite monkeys, elephants, and giraffes, we also took two spins around the carousel. I love his nervous smile as the horses go up and down, and it’s fun to see him embracing all these new toddler adventures.
We’re headed back to the zoo this weekend with family visiting from out of town. I am certain that several more carousel rides await us. I better remember all my tokens!