A day at the zoo with the children. Nice! Order tickets in advance, pack our bags with sandwiches, help the children in the car and go. With us, a day at the zoo is different …
First consult the zoo website: is there a disabled parking space? Yes, but can not be reserved, so we go on good luck. Is there a changing place in the zoo for Tim, so we can change his diaper lying down? This is not always stated on the website. Calling makes no sense, because the lady on the phone does not know that. Or they say: Yes, there is a baby changing place. Tim is no longer on that. He also breaks the wall because Tim is way too heavy. Then we look further on the zoo website: which entrance tickets can we take? Unfortunately, no tickets can be ordered digitally, because you have to buy a handicap ticket or accompanying ticket at the ticket counter, so in the long line on the spot. Like every family, we take sandwiches and drink packages. In addition, two large shopping bags go with it: diapers, wipes, diaper bags, cream, spare clothing for Tim when he is leaking. This usually happens twice a day because the safety belts of his wheelchair empty his diaper. And of course we also bring the usual diapers and spare clothes for Willemijn and Lennard. Then we stuff all the stuff in the trunk with a lot of art and flight work: wheelchair, stroller and chassis from Lennard and the bags with stuff. There we go.
The disabled parking space: FULL!
Once we reach the destination, we look for the disabled parking places. Unfortunately full. Then in a normal parking lot. We are not concerned with parking close to the entrance, but with the width of the parking lot. Normal parking spaces are too narrow. To lift Tim out of the car and to turn his car seat outside, the car door must be fully open. So we only park the car half in the box and unload everything. This is to the great annoyance of cars that cannot continue and have to wait. Then again park the car completely in the box. We often cannot park at the disabled parking places, but how nice would it be if we could take Tim out of the bus with an electric lift at the back? Saves a lot of hassle.
No place on the bus for a wheelchair
What happens regularly is that the parking spaces at the zoo are so full that we have to go to a further parking space. From there you will be taken back to the zoo by bus. How the hell are we supposed to do that with Tim? This happened to us once. What a drama that was. First I had to wait a long time in a row for the next bus among all the busy children, which Tim was completely overwhelmed with. When asked if there was room for a wheelchair in the coach, the bus driver replied that his sole task was to bring everyone from here to the zoo and to do nothing else for us. There you are. Fortunately Jos and Monique were with us and we had a lot of help from them and Tim was allowed to sit on Jos’ lap in the coach. But that is not how it should be officially (no belt, etc.). At such a moment you can only cry and then your day at the zoo must begin.
At the entrance we join in the long line and after approval, whether Tim is disabled enough, we buy the different types of tickets. The cashier’s ‘approval’ gaze hurts. Finally inside. We want to change Tim’s diaper around lunch. In this restaurant there is only a baby / toddler room on the toilet. Tim is no longer on that. On to the next restaurant or toilet block. Nothing again. Tim has since leaked through and so he needs to be completely changed. Fortunately, an employee offers to change Tim at the first aid spot. Here is a stretcher where this is possible. But there is no hoist here, so we lift Tim ourselves. Sometimes there are also changing places on a kind of long counter top. Tim is getting older and longer. He understands a lot. Would he not feel embarrassed if he lay there in the bare buttocks on the public toilet while all the people were watching him? We can’t change zoos, but how nice would it be if we can change Tim on the bus on a changing table.
Cry and scream
In the afternoon, other children start to get tired at the zoo and become more weeping and scream. Tim is also tired and can have a lot less. Tim gets upset and cries loudly. He gets upset by the screams and the bustle of the children. Of course, the screaming belongs to children, but with Tim that comes in very much and it hurts us to see him panicked. Fortunately we have thought to bring his headphones with quiet music. The day at the zoo is over. We’re going to the car. First drive the car half out of the box, to the annoyance of others. Everyone in it again. Lifting a lot. Tired of the day, and of all the hassle, we crash into the car.
Eating fries together
We consider eating fries with the children at the McDonald’s en route. You know you shouldn’t do that: way too much for Tim. The crowds, the seats and tables close together, seats screwed to the ground. So there is no room for a wheelchair. A very bad idea. And yet we go there. You also award Willemijn and Tim. Because they like French fries, just like all the other children, and it is just part of it. When Tim cries a lot and is panicked by the excitement, we resolve every time to never do that again.
And then home, children to bed and all the things and tools from the car load.