I lied to my kid at the zoo – what kind of mother am I?!

It was a beautiful sunny day just the other week, staying at my parents house when my mum came up with the idea of taking the twins to the zoo!

At 3 and a half, we are way into animals so it wasn’t a bad idea, however the thought of wrangling my own 2 monkeys at the Sydney zoo did seem a bit overwhelming. But it didn’t take much persuasion from mum, something along the lines of ‘we’ll just give it a shot…what’s the worst that can happen?’ (well tbh the mind boggles at that) but before I knew it we were all piled in the car, Mum, the boys and I and off to Taronga Zoo.

One small detail I may have forgotten until we pulled into the carpark was that it was school holidays! These things aren’t on my radar but honestly I thought to myself how bad can that actually be? Hmmm

By the time we dragged ourselves through the carpark, navigated the line to buy tix which seemed to be in a wind tunnel and standing still is the most impossibly hard thing for kids, we pulled in for a cup of tea next to a park to rest our already weary legs only to realise we weren’t even in the zoo yet!!!

Not willing to give in yet, we refreshed with a cuppa and headed off into the zoo!

For anyone who hasn’t been to Taronga zoo in Sydney, it is on the most enormous hill so we had to play a game of strategy to ensure we weren’t carrying 2 weary 3 year olds back up the hill. I was trying to entice them towards the gondola but it wasn’t being well received.

Upon looking at the map to plan our day, I started to realise one teeeny weeny issue…I couldn’t find the Rhinos!

You see Hunter is obsessed with Rhinos. We have been to one zoo and they were all he wanted to see. He has a postcard of a rhino that goes everywhere with him! Yet here was I looking at a zoo map with no rhinos!

I wont lie, a little bit of panic started to hit me as we started to walk around and he kept asking for the rhino! Surely there was a sign that would pop up out of no where and there would be a rhino.

Unfortunately a load of the zoo was under construction which ment things were all over the place and as we kept walking my hopes of finding a rhino were fading and his constant nagging to see a rhino was increasing.

Here’s the thing, Hunter is not a kid you can palm off easily. So no amounts of tigers, elephants and giraffes were going to cut the mustard for this kid…I had to find a rhino soon or we were heading for meltdown world!

As we walked through the savannah world he called out rhino!! Yes I thought! Only to look over and discover he was looking at a hippo from the back. Nooooooo I thought. Then, in a moment that came from no where something just popped out of my mouth as the hippo turned around and his face started to fall.

‘Yes mate…that’s a rhino!!!’ I said with confidence, ‘It’s a rhino hippo, a rhino who’s lost his nose tusk!’

‘No no ma’ my eagle eyed 3 year old started

‘yeah baby’, I interjected determined this was going to work ‘it’s a rhino whose nose tusk has fallen off and it’ll grow back and he’ll be fine! when their noses are like that they are rhino hippos’

He stared pensively at my face. I could see his mind ticking. I could also see my mum out of the corner of my eye looking eagerly to hope my story worked as she kept Harry away because know it all Harry would have piped up!

Suddenly I could see the relief come over his face!

‘Yes mummy!!! It’s a rhino…hippo rhino!’

PHEW!!!!! He’d bought it! We were going to escape the zoo having seen a rhino in a rhino-less zoo!! Brilliant!

Suddenly the lady next to me out of no where turned to me and said ‘really? I just thought it was a hippo?!’ with a blank expression on her face.

‘It is,’ I said ‘but he’ll be devastated if he doesn’t see a rhino so I made it up!!’

‘Ohhhh’ she said as I walked away before she ruined my lie. I could still see the confusion on her face! At least I was believable!!

For the next few hours we contentedly walked around the zoo seeing all the reptiles and aussie animals with Hunter telling everyone over and over he’d seen a rhino-hippo!

We even got some extra rhino figurines at the shops and he tried to explain to my mum that this one had a tusk so it was a rhino not a rhino-hioppo!

That night when the kids told their Dad about the trip to the zoo…yup you guessed it the rhino-hippo was Hunter’s highlight!

Yes, I may have lied to my son about an animal at the zoo but I don’t think he even remembers 2 weeks on and if he does we’ll all laugh when he gets older.

But imagine what a disaster our zoo trip would have been if I hadn’t lied?? Besides what zoo doesn’t have a Rhino????

Listen to this story in Episode 5 of Talking Twins and More!

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