Monday, September 24, 2012

Adventures at Grant's Farm: You Can Call Me Madonna

We had friends in town for a weekend of Italian dining and Farmers' Marketing and Park Strolling and Napping and Golfing and Grilling and Grant's Farm Visiting.  It was great to see them, and it was like we'd special-ordered the Perfect Fall Weekend Weather.

Our Grant's Farm Adventure was especially... interesting?  For those of you not in STL, Grant's Farm is a section of land that was once owned by Ulysses S. Grant and is now owned by the Busch family (of Anheuser-Busch).  It's also a nature conservatory, and home to deer, cows, buffalo, and wild horses, as well as pygmy goats, guinea bigs, two elephants, some camels, a few llamas, a zebra or two, wallaby (wallabies?), and ducks and geese.  So it's like part fields where the animals roam and part petting zoo with a beer garden (Where the booze is complimentary--seriously, you get two free drinks on the house.  Every petting zoo should institute this policy).

riding the tram!
Anyway, we loaded up the little girls (Mia is almost two) and headed to Grant's Farm. Caroline fell asleep in the Bjorn and Mia may have had more fun pushing her own stroller than observing any of the animals, but it was still a good time for everybody.  Except also slightly bizarre...

Faceplant into the boobs.  Please ignore my disgusting scar.  I really need to photoshop that.
There was a traumatic incident with a goat mistaking Mia's finger for a bottle (which I'm sure did not feel especially pleasant).

Goat sucking on Mia's finger.  Not pictured:  Subsequent meltdown
But Mia and and her dad still braved the pygmy goat pen to do some bottle feeding.  Turns out baby pygmy goats are pretty aggressive when it comes to bottle feeding.  Every other kid who entered the pen came out crying because the goats were so intense in their efforts to get at the milk bottles.  As this picture illustrates, Mia and Dennis both found the goat pen extremely enjoyable:

Mia is the one crying.  Dennis is the one getting, uh, trampled by the goat.
After they recovered from the goat encounter, we made it to the beer garden where everyone else drank a free beer while I drank a $2.50 water.  (I know, right?).  Zuzu was snacking on milk.  I use one of those nursing covers when I feed her out in public, and although it takes a little finagling to keep from flashing anyone, I've become pretty proficient at nursing almost anywhere.

Anyway, once she was finished eating, she was perfectly content to hang out until the beers were finished and Mia had chowed down her graham cracker treats.  We stood up and started gathering up our things when a little old lady came up and tapped me on the shoulder.

She wondered if I would come over and show my baby to her sister, another little old lady sitting at a nearby table.

They seemed perfectly harmless, so I walked Caroline over there to say hi.  And then they proceeded to tell me how cute she is and how cute her outfit was.  This was all totally normal because she IS really cute, right?

Then it got kind of weird.

"I hope you don't mind that I took a picture of you nursing her," the little old lady says.  "It was just so beautiful.  I'm so glad to see you doing that here.  You were like a madonna."

I swear my jaw just sort of dropped here, because WHAT the WHAT?  I mean, WHAT?  Did I just get compared to Madonna?

Actually, no.  I'm pretty sure she meant the blessed virgin.

Which...  even weirder!

And what do you say that?

It's not like I could say, No!  Delete that picture!  Because they were little old ladies taking pictures with a disposable camera.  Like one that takes FILM.  (Can you even get film developed anymore?  Seriously.)

So I just sort of stood there, awkwardly blinking at her, and wondering exactly what was captured on her film since the baby (and, hopefully, my boob) was entirely hidden under a nursing cover.  And the little old lady started talking about how lovely that cloth was (my nursing cover) and how she was so glad to see me nursing because it was going to make my baby grow up so healthy.  So I guess she was just like a breastfeeding cheerleader.  Who wants me to be in her photo album.  While breastfeeding.

I said, "Uh, well, I hope so."

THEN they asked if they could take my picture again.  Like posing with the baby.

So I agree because I DON'T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO.  And we'd already gone over the edge of weirdness, so why not swim in it?

Caroline and I smiled for some stranger and her disposable camera.

I told the ladies to have a nice day (and I kept saying thank you to them, like they'd done me a favor by taking my picture?  Also can I just say I was having like the worst hair day ever and my allergies were bothering me so... not cute.  Oh well, I'm sure they'll just look at the baby anyway.) and I walked back over to David and our friends who were like, "Uh, what was that about?" and I was trying to quietly tell David that they said I looked like a madonna but no, not Madonna-Madonna.

I helped David get Caro back in the Bjorn, which he was wearing, and the ladies then called HIM over to their table to take HIS picture with the baby.  Because it was just so lovely that we were out with the baby like this and it was so nice to see a nice couple like us out with our baby.

He does look good wearing a baby. Feel free to print this for your photo album at home.
It was possibly the most bizarre encounter ever.

Now don't you want to visit Grant's Farm?  I thought so.


  1. Love the sock/shoes on Caro. They've always been a fave baby clothing item of mine.

    Don't shop your scar out. Our scars is what make us unique and beautiful. I know, sounds like total bullcrap, but being totally perfect isn't as fun as it looks.

  2. Very bizarre.

    Why wouldn't they just ask first?

    When we went on vacation this summer my husband had devised a really clever solution for the whole car seat / stroller issue on the plane. Because our three year old had her own seat and needed her carseat on the plane, and because it's such a royal pain to drag a bulky car seat and a stroller around an airport, he bought a $20 collapsible dolly from Office Max, and strapped the car seat to it. We pulled her around the airport (she faced backwards and waved to the crowds) and it worked perfectly. The dolly folded up and slid in the overhead compartment, easy peasy.

    The point of this long winded story is this - people commented nonstop on this little setup. We were asked no less than five times in different airports if someone could photograph it to show to their daughter / friend / sister. Each time the person approached us, called us Madonna, wait - scratch that, commented on the brilliance of the idea and asked if they could photograph it while not catching our daughter face forward - just an unrecognizable profile. All five showed us the photo on the camera screen afterwards to ask if the shot was okay. It was bizarre as well - but in a nice way. People went out of their way to respect our privacy. One woman seemed really sheepish and even suggested that we cover up her face with her blanket - I thought that might be even stranger (a little Michael Jackson like) but I appreciated her concern.

    Then I was all "I exploit my children's faces daily on my blog, so no worries."

    Bizarr-o, no doubt.

    And I hate those goats - but like the farm.

  3. You didn't tell me the part about them using a disposable camera. That makes it even better! Great picture of Dennis in the goat pinBTW.

  4. Just printed the picture. ha. :)

    As an FYI, when I read this: "There was a traumatic incident with a goat mistaking Mia's finger for a bottle (which I'm sure did not feel especially pleasant)", my gut reaction was that you know exactly what that feels like.. You know, but with a nipple. ah ha!

    Old ladies are weird. I love them though.

  5. My mom takes her camera in to Costco every few weeks to get pictures printed so she can mail them out to us kids. I wonder if these old ladies are like my mom and someone halfway across the country is going to get a picture of you nursing. Ha.

    On a side note - David REALLY does look like a pro baseball player! Red top and hat and those sideburns. If you zoom out of those pictures is he wearing tight white pants too?!

  6. It always seems like a better idea to feed the goats from the outside the pen, through the fence, to keep a barrier between them. We may have gotten some cheap amusement out of watching toddlers feeding overzealous goats in the does seem to be a recipe for trouble!

    That is too weird and too funny about the old ladies!

  7. Holy bajesus that is....weird.
    The closest I come is at the zoo on a very hot day I started to nurse G on a bench in front of the giraffes because there was no one around, and then the giraffes came out and there was a swarm of people taking pictures of them, but with me in front of them with no cover and I was like Oh. Shit. I wonder how many photo albums pictures of my boob call home.

  8. Besides the fact that this old lady situation is completely awkward, I can't help but loose my laughing bean over this story. Thank you for sharing- I needed this pick-me-up! Hugs~

  9. I'm always glad when people are supportive of breastfeeding, but this does seem to go to uncomfortable (if hilarious, to an outsider) extremes. Caro seems to get more adorable every day. I'm glad you are getting out and about with her even though part of what that entails is discovering that the world is always stranger than expected.

  10. I am sitting here at home, taking a break from disinfecting my flu-ridden house and out loud at this post. I had a few weird questions about breastfeeding when G was little (mostly more than one person who assumed, albeit correctly, that I breastfed because I wore him in a pouch sling). But no one ever took my picture. I want to hang out with you one day because the most hilariously awesome things happen to you. I'm saving this post to re-read when I'm having my next crap day. Thanks.

  11. I came over because Gina said it was a funny post.... she was absolutely correct... hilarious, lol!!!

    While the story itself was funny, I found myself laughing out loud at your captions, lol.

  12. Dh & I got married on the campus of the university where we had met... service in the chapel, reception in a room at the student union building, and photos on the lawn of the beautiful old administration building, directly across the road. There was some sort of conference on at the student union building, and it was just breaking up as we were having our photos taken. I heard people calling to each other, "Look! It's a wedding!" and out came THEIR cameras.

    So yeah, kinda weird. ; )