That Little Asshole Goat

Dear Tessa,

This afternoon I took you to your very first trip to Butterfield Acres, a nearby petting zoo/working farm that I’ve heard friends with children talk about for years but never looked into till last week. This summer I want us to get out more, so I’ve started taking you for full days instead of your usual morning at dayhome and afternoon with me (which you’d usually spend most of the time napping anyway). The aim was for us to go out and have little adventures. Go to the science center, the zoo…Butterfield Acres.

You did not enjoy your first trip to Butterfield Acres, and to be honest, despite all of my high-minded thinking behind taking you I’ve been trying all morning to figure a way out of it. It’s hot out and your overweight dad is not a fan of the heat. A large sweaty man does not a good image around countless children make, even if he has one of his own in tow. And it’s a new place, and occasionally I have problems with new places that I only figure out a few hours before I actually have to show up.

But damn it, I wanted us to go. For you, mostly. Even if you didn’t have a good time, it would be a beginning to build on. A new experience. That has to be good, doesn’t it? The final decision is out on that one, but it was a new experience.

You do not care for farm animals at the moment. I’m sure it’s an age thing, as all the other children – some half a year older than you, others several years older – had no issue. You’d discover them almost by accident walking through the park, realizing sometimes a little too late that you were closer than you’d like. You’d back away very slowly, all the while saying ‘no’ in a very calm, but determined way. Not a ‘No! Get that peacock away from me’. More like a, ‘No, I am not going to engage in this situation right now thank you very much.’

I tried to push the issue a couple of times, picking you up so you could pet the horses (almost wrote horsies there but you just turned your head, buried it into my shoulder and repeated your little ‘no’ mantra. Except for a two incidents, this was your whole first experience with Butterfield Acres. You stayed apart from the larger groups of older kids running by in packs like I’ve seen you do at dayhome. You’re not sure if you want to join in and even less sure about how to do it even if you wanted to. You’re thinking it through, though, that’s for certain.

So these incidents:

The first bad incident is when you were surprised by the miniature horses (that’s little horsies, to you). They were about your height and not moving by the fence so you didn’t notice them until you were really close and they brayed quite loudly. You backed up into a fence filled with turkeys that started to shriek and between a turkey and a little horsie well…there were some tears. I picked you up and we went to go play with some sand and trucks.

The second bad incident was a reoccurring encounter with one of the smaller goats (kids?) walking around the farm. It took a liking to you while you were backing up and away from the flock (?) of sheep panting away in the summer heat. It approached you and you didn’t see it at first, which was probably what added to the shock when you finally turned around and it was right there. You shook your arms as if they were miniature wings that would take you out of the situation and began to run…properly run away in a fashion that resembled someone running away from a madman with a knife. That little asshole goat, who really wasn’t such a bad kid, followed you perplexed, and you continued in your run, pumping your arms like a champ and occasionally throwing a look back to make sure, yes, that little bastard was running (walking, really) you down.

So yeah, tears and a lot of no. Not the greatest first trip. I was a little dismayed until on the way back when we were passing the infamous horsie/turkey combo¬† I heard a woman talking on her cellphone while her daughter was petting an emu. The woman was telling the person on the other end that this time was better than six months ago, that it was like two different kids. And you know what, that’s probably what it’s going to be like with you.
Regardless, we’re going to keep going on these day trips this summer. They should have started more consistently a long time ago, but at least we’re doing them now.




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William Neil Scott

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