PopPop & His Boo Boo Hurt All Better, reports area toddler
22ish Weeks or Maybe 23

Now Available From Stephen King: PETTING ZOO


Is there anyone here with a potty-trained kid? Anyone?

Me! Me! Meeeeeee!

It's glorious. Or maybe it's just a novel new party trick right now, like my double-jointed ring fingers -- one of those things I think is glorious and awe-inspiring and everybody else just secretly looks away and hopes I'll stop talking about pee-pee in the potty already and OH MY GOD STOP BENDING YOUR FINGERS LIKE THAT.

(Exhibit A!)

Everything just sort of...clicked this weekend, at some point on Sunday. Tab A into Receptacle B = high-fructose corn-syrup bribery. Eureka!

And not a moment too soon, since on Saturday Noah kicked me in the chest and emitted this otherworldly howl of rage -- he sounded, incidentally, EXACTLY like those things from I Am Legend, which we watched on Friday night after arguing for a week about the premise. The DVD arrived in the mail on Monday and Jason claimed it was about aliens, while I said no, it was some Castaway-type meditation piece on survival and isolation and Jason continued to insist that no, it's aliens and shit gets blown up and I said fine, we'll watch it provided nothing bad happens to Will Smith's dog.

We were both way off and our super-low expectations were rewarded with getting the ever-loving shit scared out of ourselves, and I kept a throw pillow on top of my head for a good 20 minutes at one point, which is to say: two thumbs up! Except don't talk to me about the ending, because I have a very complicated alternate ending that so totally could have worked and made everything way happier, but Jason informs me that I am missing the POINT and the SYMBOLISM, but I really do have a pathological need for happy endings and this is why I am not ever invited to test screenings.


AMY: What the fuck! WHAT THE FUCK! He could have rolled down the window and heard the cars! I could hear the cars! You don't just fucking shoot people before ROLLING DOWN THE WINDOW TO CHECK FOR CARS. Everybody knows this. Go back and reshoot the ending and have him roll down the window, Jesus Christ.


AMY: But...is the cat okay?


A great film, but probably would have been better if Rhett knocked on the door a minute later to come back to Scarlett after all, perhaps with Bonnie in his arms who was not actually dead but just lost in the mist all this time.

Anyway. Noah is no longer screaming like the viral undead from Mars. After a few bad hours during which I did waver and wonder if I should bust out the Huggies again after all, I did the smartest thing ever. I abandoned him to the care of our babysitter (who I believe Noah worships as a deity) for a few short hours. She informed him that yeah, dude, sorry, I'm also part of the Evil Toilet Agenda and expect you to use it. And that pretty much was the end of any form of resistance. We are fully potty-operational here, people, and also covered in bright-colored fingerprints from hard candy shells that fucking DO melt in your hands AND in your big-boy pants, not like I've figured out how that one happened yet.


(Shut up, I mentioned him a couple tangents ago, I'm sure of it.)

We did Father's Day up RIGHT, y'all, what with the trip to Home Depot where Noah had a harrowing encounter with an automatic flush toilet (oh God, okay, I know, I'm dropping the topic now) and then to a petting zoo where I had a near heart attack because Noah got within six feet of a fucking GOOSE and then we took a tractor ride where fucking OSTRICHES came up to us and children were TOUCHING the ostriches and oh my God, we all could have had our eyeballs pecked out and I threw all the contents of our souvenir cup of grain pellets off the tractor in a desperate attempt to get the fucking ostriches AWAY and honestly I never knew that I had such a deep fear of ostriches. But I do. Huh.

And I was not alone in my fear, either, as another mother was equally as terrified by the giant pecking peck monsters who were trying to nose around in a little boy's Thomas the Tank Engine backpack while the guide explained that ostrich brains are actually smaller than their eyeballs and when our husbands had our toddlers off feeding the things or something (I couldn't look, I COULDN'T LOOK), she quietly whispered, "I'm gonna go eat an ostrich burger after this, motherfuckers."

I wish I'd gotten her email address. We had a lot in common, I think.


Post-Ostrich Encounter. Noah also just touched a filthy camel. Was promptly bathed in Purell minutes later by killjoy mother who was convinced every animal here was going to eat us.


Filthy I say! And what, you don't think those souvenir grain pellets don't taste just like human flesh? Because I totally heard this one kid say they tasted like chicken and YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS and also, ew, please don't let your kids eat souvenir grain pellets, people. I know those sort of things can happen really quickly when you aren't watching them but you know what else happens really quickly?



Don't. Even. Get. Me. Started.


Okay, so that's kind of pretty cute.




The kind of wildlife encounter I can get behind.


Happy Father's Day, Jase. Thank you for not letting that ostrich peck my baby to death. I'm sorry the words, "Stop that, Noah, you're scaring Mama" have to come out of your mouth as often as they do, but thank you for noticing.



Way more interesting than our Fathers Day, which included bad shrimp and subsequent stomach issues.


Turns out you were right about I Am Legend. Send this link to Jason and gloat all day...yer welcome!


Congratulations on the potty success--I love having a potty trained kid! Well, we've got the pee thing nailed and now I just need to convince my daughter that poop can go somewhere OTHER THAN a pull-up (poor Dora...shudder). Oh, and I'm totally with you on the M&M thing--we had candy colored fingerprints all up in here when they were the bribe of choice.

And 'I Am Legend'? I knew what it was about YET I watched it alone (husband was on a business trip) and had a throw pillow poised over my face probably 2/3rds of the movie. I did end up liking it though....


I went to an ostrich farm in Curacao. Let me tell you, those motherfuckers are MEAN. The guide/owner was standing next to the pen telling us some fun facts about how the workers have to run for their lives when they enter the pens to steal the eggs because the ostriches will disembowel them if they catch them, and this one ostrich comes up behind him and starts screaming and slavering and foaming at the mouth. It looked like Linda Pearl in that scene from The Exorcist. If it could have gotten to him, it would have ripped his fucking head off. I was three feet away from it and I was trying to climb over my husband to get the hell away from the damn thing.

The babies were cute though. I got to hold one that was a week old and already bigger than a full-grown chicken. And you can stand on the eggs and they won't break.


Oh my god I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN. My husband went to see I am Legend over Christmas and I was gonig to go at first but then for some reason I can't remember I backed out. He came back and told me it was great, depressing, and I should never ever see it because the dog dies. I mourned that dog AND I NEVER SAW THE MOVIE.

Also, my husband got a sweet graphic novel about Laika, the first dog in space (Russian). She died too. I refused to read the book, but for some reason he had some pathological need to tell me every. detail. I cried all weekend. That may have been the weekend I found out I was pregnant, but I maintain the two things are unrelated. It's a fucking SAD STORY. She was a SWEET PUPPY.

::is tearing up again::


One time, a friend's neighbor had his emus get loose and we offered to help corral them. It was scary and awful at first, but it only got worse. I decided I had had enough when one of them fucking jumped off of a mother fucking road bank nearly onto my fucking head. CLAWS! BEAK! HUGE LEGS! REALLY NOT GOOD!

Swirl Girl

Oh how I wish I were you...

Maybe I should let my toddler watch that movie.

At this point, I would like to scare the shit out of her...literally.



"for some reason he had some pathological need to tell me every. detail."

because you kept asking!


You should read "I Am Legend." The book ending is much much much different than the movie.

Ostriches kick. Hard. You have a right to fear for your precious one.


I totally agree with "I Am Legend". I spent a majority of the movie once I realized what the hell was going on, with my head in my husband's shoulder saying "I am SO DONE with this movie!"
Congratulations on potty training! So the key to success is abandonment and sugar! Okay, writing that down and will start trying it in a couple of months when my own starts to tell me she has to go BEFORE she actually goes. Telling me after is still kind of cute, but a major let down when I rush her to the potty and see, "Oh, you lied to Mommy."


Congratulations on the potty victory! I can't help but think that your MIL's going to try to take credit ;)


I started reading your blog awhile ago but have never left a comment until now. You have a fabulous sense of humor. I just laughed outloud sitting at my desk at work. I love the part about the ostrich burger!
I would have to agree with you about I Am Legend. Nothing better than great suspense and an eyeful of abs!


Georgia -- No way! The test audiences didn't like MY ending, which I had no idea was like, the ACTUAL ORIGINAL ENDING.

I just emailed Jason, full of smug and gloat. (He didn't like the ending either, he just has very little patience for my endless and pointless arguing with DVDs.)


I am a vegetarian and I would eat ostrich without a second thought. Those birds are evil. We went to an ostrich farm in Arizona and the owner was telling us how great the birds were. He held out his hand with some bird food and the ostrich just about took his fingers off and there was blood shooting everywhere. Scared me to death. Glad you survived and congrats with the potty training.

Backpacking Dad

I saw both "I am Legend" and "No Country for Old Men" by myself, on my daughter's first day in daycare.

Those were very very very bad movies for a father to go see on a day he is traumatically separated from his child.

Also, the ending to "I am Legend" was lame and works way better in the book. Also, the ending to "The Mist" was lame and works way better in the short story (even if Stephen King himself said the director's ending was the most amazing thing he had ever seen done blah blah blah.)


I love goats. I want a goat. Spencer keeps saying no. I keep insisting it's a money maker. (The grow cashmere, okay? And make milk, and milk makes goat cheese. And also? It could mow the lawn.)


The Mist? Worst ending ever! The End.

I love the parking garage goose story -- and the comments that went along with it!

Also, "clacky cloven feet"? Awesome.


Dude, I am scared of ALL birds. Big, small, doesn't matter, anything with feathers and a beak and I am out of there! My friends therefore think it's funny to try and attract the seagulls at the beach with pieces of bread but you know what? Not so much!


And oh yeah, The Mist? Seriously?


Tip for automatic toilets: Put a sticky note over the sensor.


Coming out of lurking to say - I GOT BIT BY AN OSTRICH once! I was about 5 and in one of those horrible free strollers at the zoo and my mom pushed me a little too close to the railing and the sumbitch came right up and bit my big toe!

Obviously, I am still scarred from it. So, your fear of ostriches is shared by at least another person in this world!


Hee! I'm always the one Purell-ing at the petting zoo, too!


Dude, I hated The Mist's ending. HATED. I kept thinking, "And this was the director who did Green Mile?!?! Really? And Stephen King let him ruin his short story like this?! Really?1??!"

Thank you for your hilarious caption under Demonic-Goat. I was crying I was laughing so hard!


I don't know about geese in the DC area, but I wouldn't let my worst enemy get within an arm's length of a goose out of the Chicago suburbs - they'll cut'ya man!


Was that YOU I saw on Friday at the park? You were the mom w/ a bag filled with cleaning supplies. The one that spent a good 10 minutes cleaning the slides and swings before she would let her kid play. I thought she looked familiar!

Suzy Q

OMG, petting zoos are EVIL! I remember going to one, about a hundred years ago, with my class and one of those cute little goats stabbed Betsy Minich (her real name) right under her eye in the fleshy part with its evil horn, and there was blood and fat coming out of the wound! Seriously, I was scarred for life. Betsy, probably not so much.

Thanks a whole lot, Amy, for bringing back THAT memory. *shudder*


Oddly enough, I've been to the same ostrich farm in Curacao that Erin mentions. Those are some powerful, angry birds...

Hooray for toilet success! It was a long road at our house, and I'm still enjoying the end, almost six months later.


Fine, can you come over and potty train Michael. I have lots of food and toys to entertain Noah.

Hairy Farmer Family

I'm arried to a livestock farmer, so I'm not quite getting the animal-fear thing, but I do have to admit that my gander goose once bit my mother - in the groin, unfortunately! - so hard she had a blood blister for weeks. Oops. My bad, apparently...


Any movie that does not have a happy ending, or at least an ending that makes sense, is deemed a horrible, no good, rotten piece of trash by me.

No Country for Old Men is probably my least favorite movie of all time. BLEH.

Geese are mean, your fear was not unfounded. Now the Ostrich? Ummm, not so sure.

Ella's Mommy

Wow! I feel like I am stalking you, but not really. Just by reading the description, I would have known wich "petting" zoo you were at yesterday. And the great photos sealed the deal. My daughter and I went today...for the first time. She loved the monkeys and pigs. Her most favoritist don't-ever-make-me-leave-the-zoo exhibit....the trough of sand. We spent more tiem there than we spent walking around the whole zoo. What a fun place for little ones though! P.S. Good thing I was prepared for the tolls! They came up unexpectedly. New to NOVA. :)


Dude, the Reston Zoo. It's practically in our backyard and we have a SEASON PASS. And last time we went, the geese practically attacked us and I ended up throwing our entire cup of food onto the ground to prevent us from having our EYEBALLS PECKED OUT.

(Did you go to the monkey cage? Did the mother monkey still have that long... thing coming out of her butt? I CANNOT FIGURE THAT THING OUT.)


"Clacky cloven feet" killed me. Seriously.


Wow, I can't believe you were in my hometown this weekend!Small world. I recognized that petting zoo and fountain by the lake right away. Love those stupid goats but the gravel-couldn't push the stroller through it. Drove me crazy. Congrats on the potty training!


Amy, your captions under the photos are genius! Sheer genius, I tell you!

And I fully agree about the ostritches. Those bastards are all types of scary.


Ah ha ha ha ha "clacky cloven feet" killed me dead.

My daughter is obsessed with the geese at the pond by our local playground. She would go cuddle those things if I let her and just thinking about them...I have to put my head between my knees.
I mean, as far as I know they haven't killed any toddlers yet but god, geese. Those fuckers are ON NOTICE.


The theatrical ending of "I Am Legend" was not the original ending. You can find the original ending floating on the internet; I watched it at io9. Not great, but better than the film version and ties together some of the things hinted at throughout the movie.



That was seriously awesome. I'm not afraid of ostriches, but goats freak me right the hell out. And that is all there is at the "petting zoo" nearest our house. GAH.

imagine community

Love the humor and the eye for ridiculous detail!


Oh holy SHIT!!


I am SO THERE WITH YOU. There is a place? In Louisiana? Called Global Wildlife Center? And they have Giraffes? And they are so big. With long tongues. And they stick their heads into the trailer/wagon thingee. And I just know that one of them is gonna freak and try to get its head out and get stuch and wildly butt its head on the inside roof part and...and..

Um. I do like snakes. In my defense.

kim at allconsuming

I love you.

That is all.


I too fear all things that may peck my babies to death, but we all love animals. If you don't mind can you please tell me the name and location of the petting farm. Albeit a little creepy, I think we would have loads of fun. We are locals. DC natives...born and bred.


Is it just me or does Jason look a little like Donny Osmond in that first picture of him?


You are hilarious. The ostrich thing killed me. You actually made me laugh on day 1 of 5 days of camp mommy (with the main road into our house closed for 9 weeks). You even distracted me from the Bachelorette. That is talent, lady.


I read the book "I Am Legend", and then spent the whole movie saying to my husband "no! That's not what's supposed to happen! What the fuck? This is nothing like the book!" I was not pleased.

Excellent Father's Day post, Jason and Noah look adorable in their photos. I agree about petting zoos, they seem so fun until the animals start knocking your kid down to get at those cups of pellets a/k/a animal crack.


dude: my guy (also a 'j' name) and i watched 'i am legend' this last friday night, as well. our experience was eerily similar to yours, right down to the vastly different expectations and the hiding under the throw pillow.

although, i may have been hidden underneath the entire bed.

don't tell anyone.


We do the sticky note over the sensor of the automatic toilets, as well. Those darn things freak the hell out of my kids. And speaking of freaking the hell out--my husband was all, "Honey, you loooooove Will Smith! Let's go see I Am Legend-the IMAX Experience." Oh. My. God. I experienced nightmares for weeks. Not even those abs made it worth the trauma!


Reston Zoo!! We were there Saturday. My kids are 3 and 4, and generally get the whole "don't stick your finger in its mouth!" thing that I tend to do. We hit the Reston Zoo a few times a year, as girl child is in love with the teeny goats. Boy child is a fan of the crocodiles. Blech.


Congrats on the potty training! That's wonderful and I don't think there's anything wrong with being so happy about it :)

By the way, there IS an alternate ending to I am Legend that, according to my husband Nate, makes more sense regarding clues throughout the movie that seemed to have been neglected at the ending they used, to my extreme annoyance.
So! We should watch the alternate one and see what we think.

Also, Happy Father's Day to Jason! :)


Funny how sometimes you don't know you are afraid of something until you encounter that very thing.

I don't know about ostriches, but it took a parrot landing on my leg and trying to walk up to get in my face for me realize I DO NOT LIKE PARROTS!


There is an alternate ending to I Am Legend, go watch it!: http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/03/05/must-watch-i-am-legends-original-ending-this-is-amazing/


I am Legend. Ick... I have issues with zombies. Serious issues...

Happy Father's Day to your hubby!!


So when I was in kindergarten (23 long years ago), we went on a field trip to a novelty farm. Ostriches were one of the animals there. When we got to them, the teacher told us not to put our fingers on the fence. I distinctly remember thinking that there was no way the ostrich was going to do anything and I preceeded to put my fingers on the fence. Soon enough the ostrich bit me. It hurt like hell. But since I had disobeyed the teacher, I didn't want to tell anyone. I spent the next few minutes in paining griping my bitten finger, until on the way home on the bus, when the teacher finally noticed I was in obvious pain and figured out I had been bitten. I was not the smartest child.


I am so totally with you on the terrifying animals at the pet zoo. Also, the book I Am Legend is very very VERY different than the movie and in a good way. The movie was awesome, too.. just different.


Sherry and Beth beat me to the sticky note idea. For me it's always just been an idea, though! I've draped toilet paper over the sensor if on the toilet itself, and have also just covered the sensor on the wall with my hand. EVERY TIME I think, "man a sticky note would be the perfect thing here". But do I put a pad of those in my purse? No of course not.

(heading off to look for post-its right now!)

Anyone else think that the automatic toilets are a terrible waste of water? The ones in my office flush several times while in use. I can't help but think of the ocean water level dropping slowly with each flush.


I am so mad about The Mist. Luke and I stayed up until one o'clock in the morning to watch that damn thing after Kara went to bed, and I'll tell you what, nothing is more heartwarming than watching a father shoot his child after you've lovingly rocked your baby to sleep. Only to see the damn CARNIVAL OF RESCUE PEOPLE show up eight seconds later.

Stephen King, you got some 'splaining to do.

Also, the "ostrich burgers" thing caused me to laugh out loud at work. I like that woman.


Oh, god, I'm laughing so hard at your clacky cloven feet caption and Purell-ing everything in sight.

We took our daughter to a petting zoo when she was about 4. She did fine, feeding the baby goats with a bottle, until it started to rain and she got caught in the middle of a goat stampede. She hates goats now.

Congrats on the big-boy toilet experience! Auto-flush toilets scare me too. I'm keeping post-its with me from now on.


I loved the alterate ending that I found online for "I Am Legend" - It makes so much more sense....


I had a friend back in HS that was totally afraid of Ostriches. You are not alone.

Love the captions. Too funny :)


Don't worry, once the second baby comes you will no longer fear germs. I can't promise that you will be comfortable with giant birds or barnyard animals, but I am fairly certain that you'll laugh in the face of dirt and germs and will consider your pant leg an appropriate sterilization device for a dropped pacifier.

Congrats on the potty training - isn't the world a beautiful place now?


This post confirms your status as the reigning Internet Queen of Comedy. Brilliant.


Love your petting zoo story! My sister sent me a link to your blog because my personal fear of petting zoo's, mainly goats, has been an on going family joke. Thanks to you my family will have to find some other poor sap to ridicule ;)


I only got a paragraph into the entry and haven't read the comments so I don't know if I'm duplicating but I wanted to say that I Am Legend is based on a short story with a TOTALLY DIFFERENT ENDING (and some huge plot differences).


ok so i was repeating myself but now i know about the sticky note for automatic toilet sensors! thank you genius amalah commentors!

Isabel Kallman

oh, this is classic Amalah!

ha-ha, "killjoy mother." I'm one too.


I'm laughing my butt off about the I Am Legend movie ending, because I too had an alternate ending that would have been better!
I thought that the girl in Will Smith's basement was the girlfriend of the guy who was trying to crack open the glass with his head. (Does that make any sense?) And I thought that maybe he would realize at the LAST SECOND that she was getting BETTER and the part of him that was still human would realize that he should let her get better and stop trying to crack open the glass.
And then everyone would have been saved and *love* would have kept everyone alive.
See? Much happier.
And of course the dog would be fine too.


HATE those petting zoos.

When my daughter was little she had beautiful LONG hair . . .

TWICE after visiting these big time petting zoos she picked up LICE. Who happen to share a friendly co-existence with most of those you find at the zoo to pet . .

WHAT A PAIN IN THE NECK THAT IS TO GET RID OF . .short of shaving the head . .

Mom Quixote

I was practically devastated at the end of The Mist. Damn you Stephen King!


Hey, is that the Reston Zoo. That place is an e-coli outbreak waiting to happen. Cheers.


Digging the fact one of your blog tags is 'breathtaking dumbness'. That may be a useful one over here in our household too..


Amy, first, you are hilarious! Second, did you read a book about potty training or something? Becuase my 19 month old is ready and all I hear about is the books that will help her, but what about me? I need instructions dag nabbit! Thanks!


God, that was genius hilarity. A phenomenal post!


I will never forgive you for making me ecstatically Google Stephen King + Petting Zoo only to find there was no new book. HA! I am a moron :D


Happy (belated) Father's Day, Jason!

And I haven't laughed that hard in a while...thanks! ;)


Congrats on the potty training, but don't celebrate too much just yet--kids have a way of "getting it," then, um, NOT getting it for a while now & then. My son had it all together, then stopped pooping in the potty for a while, then would forget to PEE in it for a while, etc. They get distracted easily. But still--huge milestone!


Those tiny black goats scare me! Have you looked at their eyes? The pupils are RECTANGLES! That's not human!

I read a lot, and am always upset when the plot and/or ending of a favorite book is changed. It reminds me of a woman marrying a man and thinking she can change him and that's always a mess too. I understand they are trying to change the end of "My Sister's Keeper" and I will not even go to that movie if they do because the end was perfect. Shocking and sad, but perfect.

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