« Nick's Notes

Dominated by baby goats

by Nick Vitrano

I don’t want to deny my daughter any joy in her life.  Like the Eric Carle story “Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me,” if I could grab a giant ladder and prop it atop the highest mountain and bring down the moon for her to dance with, I would.  Although that story kind of weirds me out.  I’m a fan of Carle, but some of his stories really have me wondering what he’s smokin’.

Unfortunately, I know I’m going to have to deny her some of life’s pleasures.  There are, of course, some financial limitations to what I can gift her.  Then there are safety concerns.  You know…whatever…parenting stuff. 

At present, she’s of the age where she’s not long for the stroller, which means a lot of roaming in a lot places that make me cringe.  I’m a bit of a germaphobe – not like I’ll never shake hands kind of germaphobe, but I’m a frequent hand washer and a calculated action kind of guy.  That is to say, I’d like to know the potential of the germs to which I will be exposed and base my level of anxiety on that.  Animals bring me to immediate DEFCON 1. 

So, back to the denying my daughter an experience based upon my germ analysis. 

I always loved to feed the goats at the zoo when I was a kid.  In fact, at the Milwaukee County Zoo they used to open the gates, let in the kids, and allow them to bottle feed the baby goats.  There I was, walking through goat feces, being licked and gnawed at by goats, then rubbing my eyes or wiping my goat soiled hands on my shirt or, worse, wiping out in the pen.  One time, while feeding one goat, another came up behind me and took me out.  

On so many levels, I cannot believe we were ever allowed to feed zoo animals...still can't believe kids are allowed to do this.  And when my daughter asks, I don't know what I'm going to do.  Like I said, I don't ever want to deny her an experience, especially just because my adult rear end is hung up on the germiness of it.  The world is a dirty place.  I can't put my kid in an E.T. haz-mat suit and protect her from everything.  But then again, we're not talking about some simple cold germs here.  And then there's this...