Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Zoo Day!

We went to the zoo today--The boys, my niece Francie and I. We were supposed to go a couple other times, but one day it looked like rain, the other, Johnny had football camp. I said, "Watch--the day we go, it will be the hottest day of the year."

Saving the zoo for the hottest day is kind of a tradition. As the temp crept toward the triple digits at around 1:30 p.m., I turned to Johnny and said, "You have to go to the zoo on the hottest day of the year, or else you lose your edge, and once you lose your edge, it's gone forever."

"Yeah," he said, laughing. "Wait, what does that mean?"

"Your competitive edge," I said. "When you lose it, it's gone."

"Yeah," he said, clearly thinking I had lost something.

Hot days are actually a great time to go to the zoo. I remember it used to mean the animals were off hiding in the shade, but now it seems like the shade is close to the viewing area. Lions were laying right up against the glass, and chimpanzees were grooming each other right by where we could sit.

On the information sign, it said chimpanzees have five or so behaviors, such as teaching the young how to hunt for termites, but the only thing I've ever seen them do is groom each other. A mother's work is never done. As soon as she's finished biting bugs off the baby's bottom, and moves onto the rest of the body, it's time to remove more bugs from the bottom.

I'm so glad humans had the common sense to lose our body fur. Seriously, removing bugs from my children only takes about .00000001 percent of my overall time, and only when we've been to a farm. Which gives me the free time to do important things like write a mommy blog.

I love taking J.J. and my niece to the zoo.

J.J.: "What's your name, seal? Seal, seal, what's your name?"

(He was talking to a sea lion. It must be frustrating to hear visitors talk when you're a zookeeper. They're probably like, FYI, the animal kingdom is not limited to monkeys, seals, and babies of bigger animals you're more familiar with. For the last time, servals aren't baby cheetahs! Learn the names, people, learn the names.)

Johnny: The seal can't talk, J.J.

J.J.: Oh.

Later, Francie: Hi, elephant. Elephant! Hi.

J.J.: The elephant can't talk, Francie.

Francie: Bye, elephant.

Francie said hi to all the animals. (Just because they can't talk, doesn't mean you can't talk to them!)When we came to the rhinoceros, she said, "Hi, dinosaur."

J.J. said, "That's not a dinosaur, it's a wino."

The best was when she came to the gorilla. She said, "Hi, granddad!"

It was like a scene from Inherit the Wind.

We were all laughing about that when the gorilla ran up and pounded on the window.

I was like, "Oh, no, he thought we were laughing at him."

I would never laugh at a gorilla! Chimps, yes. They just make the funniest faces at each other, and you're like, "What does that mean?" You soon find out they were asking if they could groom each other. What a surprise!

It was almost too hot to walk to the exit, but we made it. There, we saw that the sea lion show was going on. The sea lion hugged the zoo keeper, jumped through hoops, dove from great heights, and even played Frisbee. J.J. kept laughing and looking at me. I know what he was thinking, "Are you sure seals don't talk? Because it looks like this guy can do anything he puts his mind to!"

J.J. was right. That sea lion certainly hadn't lost his competitive edge! Which is why he has his own pool, front and center of the zoo.

All the kids agreed they were the sea lion. (Don't you love how kids always say who they are? And it's always the best one. I was at Karate Kid, and during the final Kung Fu tournament, the kid next to me nudged me, and pointed to Dre. "I'm him. Not that one. That one," he said.

I thought, "Yeah, obviously you're not going to be the mean kid who's about ready to get his butt kicked and dishonor his family.")

Anyway, they were all the sea lion because he got the most attention, the most fish, and the pool.

On the way home, I said, "What a great day to go to the zoo."

"Yeah," Richie said. "And it would have been a great day to go to the pool, too."

Good thing we're all sea lions. We don't have to choose!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful day. You're a great mom and aunt to sweat for 5 hrs to entertain them. JJ told me his favorite animal was the rhino. I asked Francie and she agreed - the Ino. Love, mom

5:59 PM  
Blogger Tim Higgins said...


It is gratifying to see that you are willing to accept the challenge and slow cook both yourself and your children using a method considered both traditional (tried and true) as well as modern (green).

I also found the animal tales particularly amusing. Isn't it curious that having supposedly reached the top of the evolutionary tree, many of our younger (and perhaps wiser) members show admiration for those on lower branches?

You may well be correct in deduction that a reduction of grooming effort could be considered a forward step, and yet the time you elucidate for us here could be considered yet another form of grooming (for adulthood). I also suspect that you have spent more time than you admit to in other grooming behaviors where your young are involved.

And like the gorilla you describe, you are not afraid to accept the challenges from other primates (especially when protected by glass walls), from the fertile imaginations of young people (a substantial one), or the heat of the very planet itself (a formidable one).

You have indeed, not lost your edge!

9:33 AM  

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