The Elephant Test

It began at a Chinese restaurant. Weird, I know.

I was craving low mein noodles. My family trekked into the restaurant and I noticed coupons placed in plastic holders on the entrance table.

BUY ONE GET ONE FREE TICKET TO THE SHRINER CIRCUS!

I didn’t even know it was here. I bet Lil Diva would love the circus. I grabbed a few, shoved them in my purse, and promptly forgot about them.

January, Friday the 13th (insert horror music here)

I meant to run errands. We needed groceries.

Two hours later we still hadn’t left the house.

Then a friend posted on facebook:

“The Shrine Circus is in town and has a free event today at noon! We’ll be watching Elephants feast and talking to clowns. Come join us!”

Elephants? Free?

Oh, hell yeah.

I immediately canceled any productive plans for progressing my To Do List and packed up the kids.

It was a test. If the elephants made the kids cry or freak out – no circus. If they liked watching the elephants, we would go.

We arrived to find a fenced off area and in the middle, folding tables piled high with apples and bananas.

“I want. Ba-na-na-na,” Lil Diva informed me.

“The bananas are for the elephants, sweetie. Oh, look. Clowns!” Several Shriner members walked the outer perimeter, donning make-up as only a clown will do.

They were the least scary clowns I’ve ever seen. One even had a Sponge Bob tie (not playing to the audience at all, were they?).

The distraction technique worked and my children actually stayed with me at our claimed spot.

And when the elephants came, my children stared, in awe of their size.

The kids were in awe, but no screaming.

I think they only lasted through about ten minutes of three elephants shoveling fruit into their mouths.

But they didn’t freak out. They weren’t scared.

After a quick picnic lunch on a concrete wall, I tried to get into line to buy tickets.

My children were both wound up after the car ride and thirty minutes of standing still and failed to adhere to the “stay next to me in line” request. The landscaping was far too tempting because the ticket window was outside.

I almost bailed.

Then I went for the cop-out mommy solution. I turned to the guy standing behind me. “I’ll be back in a few minutes, okay?”

He smiled, so I’m certain he must have had young children of his own at some point. “Sure.”

I gathered the kids and went back to the car. I fastened them in their car seats. I gave them a snack. I drove to the other side of the parking lot, stopping 20 feet away from the ticket window in the front parking spot.

I did the ultimate Mommy No-No and left them in the car, fastened in their seat belts, with a pile of books and the snack remnants.

I did leave the windows open. I could also see the car the entire time.

I returned to the line, the gentleman kindly letting me in and not commenting on the loss of my children. Occasionally a giggle would reach me.

I got the tickets. Then I promptly took the kids to a playground where they could burn off the energy.

The next day we would discover what my children really thought of the circus…

To be continued…

* * *

Have you ever dared leave your kids alone in the car? 

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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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5 Responses to The Elephant Test

  1. Maija @ Maija's Mommy Moments says:

    I can’t WAIT to read what happens next!!!

  2. If your kids lasted for 10 minutes in one spot, they must have REALLY been enjoying themselves. Minutes are like dog-years to kids. One of ours is at least seven of theirs.

    • Oh my – you are so right! Minutes are like dog years.

      This explains so much.

      We were actually in the spot for about 20-30 minutes because we had to hold our place before the elephants came out (thank goodness for the clowns). I was honestly shocked at that, which is why I couldn’t blame them for not holding still in line.

      Thanks for enlightening me!

  3. Pingback: Top 10 Highs and Lows of the Circus | Dances with Chaos

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