The Zoo in my Living Room

Hudson has a voice changer. It’s like a megaphone on steroids. It projects your modified voice. “The side levers can be used to create hundreds of voice combinations!” It also makes dogs howl, turns calm into chaos, and gives parents a headache but those claims aren’t included in the product description.

This is Hudson’s hand-me-down toy from Madison. What, you think I would buy a two year-old boy this toy? I didn’t even buy it for Madison, someone gifted it to her. “Amazon customers who bought this voice changer also purchased… the fart whistle and gnarly teeth.” Need I say more?

Anyway. This voice changer. Hudson keeps digging it out from the bottom of toy boxes in the game room. Of course I let him play with it sometimes because you have to allow a little chaos now and then. When he unearthed it again yesterday I didn’t try to stop him. Even though I had a headache. Even though I just wanted to watch Lifetime for Women movies in bed while eating chips and guacamole, never mind the crumbs. Score major mommy points!

Yesterday he wasn’t content to play with the obnoxious toy alone. I’m so used to taking his direction when we play I sometimes have a robotic response. “Mommy, roar like a dinosaur!” I roar. “Mommy, let’s hide!” I crouch with him behind the couch. So when he handed me the voice changer and gave me the instruction: “Mommy, talk into this and say ‘Let’s go to the zoo!’” I said it. I thought nothing of it. Then he started a celebratory dance around the living room chanting, “Yay! Yay! Yay! The zoo! We’re going to the zoo! Yay! The zoo!”

Uh oh. Did he just trick me? “Honey, we’re not really going to the zoo.”


What do you say to an adorable toddler asking so sweetly, his big blue eyes looking up at you sadly? First, you reason with him. “It’s so hot outside.” Totally true.

“Don’t worry. It’s not too hot. It’s nice!” This is his argument for going swimming too.

I tried another approach. I checked the time: six o’clock. “Honey, the zoo is closed now.” Also true.


Then I had a brilliant idea: bring the zoo to him. I strongly suggest you subscribe to Hulu Plus so when the moment presents itself you can quickly turn on National Geographic. Seeing orangutangs and panda bears on television in the comfort of our air-conditioned living room was the next best thing to the Phoenix Zoo.

We’re continuing this “bring the zoo to you” theme today. Hudson’s wearing his elephant safari shirt and cuddling some of his stuffed animals. Doesn’t he look comfy on his giant lion pillow? I read him Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too? and he’s practicing his animal noises. His chicken impression is my favorite. Buh-KOCK!

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