Today was one of those days I look forward too. I’m off work, Emma is at work and I have the Jam-eater to myself from waking up to putting her to bed. Now, reading that sentence back I sound like a right bastard – let me explain. Emma usually works nights and I work the odd Saturday so these ‘Daddy Daughter Days’ don’t come along all that often. We got up and decided that a trip to Newcastle with a museum visit for Flo and some record shops for Daddy were the order of the day. What could go wrong?
We rocked up to the Life Museum in Newcastle and out of one eye noticed there was a big animal exhibition currently running, ‘excellent’ I thought, Flo loves animals. The museum is a science centre and we spent a good hour playing with all of the exhibits as there is loads for kids to do and interact with. I recommend it highly and I will leave the website at the bottom of this page just in case you are ever in the area. Anyway I digress…
After the interactive exhibits were played with we wandered towards the animal display and saw the name Gunther Von Hagen was being proudly displayed on the posters and it rang some sort of familiarity in my head, but I just got sidetracked by thinking of Gunther from Friends and Haagen-Daaz ice cream to be completely honest. At this point the Jam-eater was really excited about seeing the animals, so we hurried along to see the big, cute and fluffy exhibits, with Flo keenly shouting the names of her favourite animals. Oh dear, this is the moment when I remembered that Mr Von Hagens was actually quite famous for… autopsies.
Flo bounded into the display hall and did not see the animals that I had promised, far from it. Instead she was faced with life-size animals such as bears and horses with no skin, some of which had been cut in half. In my head I just kept repeating ‘oh fuck, I’m a shit dad’ while at the same time Flo’s pupils were dilating to the size of dinner plates. We were in a darkened room with what appeared to be a side project owned by Hannibal Lecter.
Now don’t get me wrong, the display was fantastic but for a three-year-old it was quite the shock, especially when she was expecting to see some lovely fluffy animals (my fault I wholly admit). The Jam-eater shyly shuffled around and after a few minutes she managed to stop shitting her pants in fear, maybe I should have paid more attention to the posters on the way in. A helpful man noticed Flo was a little on edge and was superb in showing her the animals and talking to her in animal noises. He really made Flo’s day, however he just looked at me like an arsehole of a dad who her took his kid to a glorified abattoir.
The next time I plan to go to a zoo or anywhere with animals, I may need to read the posters a little more carefully first or at least take my glasses with me.