My beautiful, feathered nemesis
Henry hasn’t made it to school all week. Poor kid. He still has that cough and cold, and he had a few days of fever earlier in the week. We even went to the doctor, but there wasn’t anything to be done. Just the usual fluids and rest. While sitting there hacking with snot dripping off his face, Henry keeps looking up and saying “What happen to me?” It is adorably heartbreaking.
At my request, James called school on Wednesday. By “school” I mean “completely voluntary pay by the hour day care,” so they didn’t really need to know, but because the whole thing is so new, I didn’t want them to think we had just vanished. They reminded James about the upcoming facilities move next week. James said cool and Henry would try to make it on Friday.
Fast forward to today. I fight to get everyone out the door. We roll up to day care. I’m greeted at the door by one of the English speakers. She’s apologetic. They packed up all the toys already. It’s a busy day preparing for the move. It’s not the best time. You can leave him if you really need to . . .
I get it. It’s fine. I was proud that I said exactly what I wanted in that moment (rare for me) which was, “it’s no problem. I wish you had told me, but it’s fine.” (I also wish they had told me before I unloaded both kids from the stroller, but that’s another story.)
A small part of me was irked, but I quickly shook it off. It was a truly gorgeous day. Warm. Sunny. Not a cloud in the blue Mediterranean sky. We were already dressed and out the door; we could do anything! I quickly assessed my mom gear. I had packed standard gear (diapers, wipes, Puffs) instead of heavy duty outing my gear (more snacks, sippy cups, etc.), but I thought we’d be fine for a trip to the zoo.
And so we zoo-ed. Definitely more people there than usual. On most weekdays, I count more people working at the zoo than visiting it. But today we saw school groups and families. I don’t know if it was the Friday or the warmer weather, but other people had the same idea.
We made it through our usual faves. Monkeys. Giraffe. Skipped the farm animals today. Plenty of peacock sightings.
One of the things I love about Rome’s zoo is the roaming hordes of peacocks. I guess more properly the roaming musters or ostentations of peacocks. My zoo growing up had a one or two peacocks strutting around and it was always a hunt to try to spot them. Here, there is no hunt. You’ll turn a corner. BAM. Muster of peacock crossing your way.
Henry was strangely psyched about the ducks. I think because he can get fairly close to them. We headed that way. It was a honking cacophony of wonder. We heard swans trumpet. We saw ducks rumble.
Then Mac was starting to get antsy. I had my eye on the clock. I swear I spend half my time thinking about where the next food is coming from. This time, I decided to get a little “crazy.” Usually we do our eating at home. It’s not really a money thing. It’s not even an Italian language thing. I just get frustrated juggling the two kids for eating eating on the go. Like real sitting down and eating. Handing snacks in stroller is obviously a different story. But this time, I thought we’d try something different. I saw that the Oasis Cafe by the pond was open. Why not extend the fun with some food?
After being swarmed by a school group while placing our order, we sat down with a panino, chips, and water.
What follows are the actual emails I sent to James about our degustation exploration.
Good news, Zoo snack bar is open. Bad news, being swarmed by peacocks.
That’s right. Those beautiful creatures were now ALL up in our grill. To the point that I was using my feet to try to get them to backup. Not actually making contact with them, of course. Just making sort of a shooing motion. The ducks stayed put by the pond, but we also attracted a crowd of pigeons, crows, and seagulls. We really weren’t trying to feed anyone. I guess they know that kids are the best free lunch around.
After some munching, I realized I had inadvertently sat down beside the smoking area. When other patrons vacated the only truly sunny table, I decided we’d make a switch. With holding Mac and pushing stroller and moving food, I needed to make a few trips. I left the food unattended. For just a few moments. MISTAKE. I turned by back and giant crow was trying to fly off with Henry’s half of the panino. I charged and he abandoned his spoil, but he stayed creepily staring at us from a bush a few feet away for the rest of the meal.
When I was taking a sip of water, they came and snatched the bread out of Mac’s hand. We’re leaving now.
At this point, Mac was sitting IN MY LAP. That brazen peacock hussy came right up and took bread FROM A BABY. Peacock, have you no shame??? OK, peacocks. Before this was all in good fun, but this just got real. Don’t mess with my baby. Luckily Mac was not hurt, and he seemed too shocked to be upset. (Which was good because that was the last of the bread.)
While packing up a bird pooped on my head. It is directly on the back of my head, and I can’t see it.
YUP. That happened. I felt the wet splat. I hoped, fleetingly, that it may have been a nut off a tree. But no. I knew. I had been pooped on. Lucky me.
I couldn’t spot the culprit. At this point, I can neither confirm nor deny that I was pooped on by a peacock. So let’s just say I was pooped on by a peacock. It makes a much better story.
So I did the only thing you can in this situation. I baby wiped the back of my head. I put my hair up. And I just laughed. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.
On the walk home, where both kids fell asleep, because of course they did, I overheard someone tell someone else to have a good weekend. So at least I learned something. Buon fine settimana, ya’ll! May your days be free of peacock poop.