Thursday, April 02, 2009
Inquiring Minds Want to Know
Precocious children + spring at the zoo = interesting conversations
Took the girls to the zoo the other day and we practically had it to ourselves. It was a blustery day and the locals were not on Spring Break so we wandered around during feeding time and got to see all sorts of interesting animal behaviors. The baby elephant was frolicking in a mud puddle and struggling mightily to push an enormous tree over with his trunk while his mother stood by rolling her eyes at him. The orangutans were experimenting with their food, rolling it around on their tongues and pushing it out through their lips like five year old boys learning to dangle their spit down toward the ground and suck it up just at the last minute. The bats were swooping from side to side, pushing each other off of the pie tins to get the best morsels of mango. It was magical. Until we got to the baboons.
Four baboons, three female and one male. The male was easily twice the size of the females, his snout striped with electric blue and white and his eyes glowing with testosterone. He relentlessly followed one female around as she paced on all fours pretending to ignore him. Every few steps he reached out a front foot and smacked her on the haunches and she flipped her head back at him, annoyed. Lola watched this and giggled, assuming he was bugging her like she loves to bug her big sister - just pestering. After three or four smacks, the harried female looked at us with a sigh (I'm not kidding here - she really did look straight at us and give in) and stopped and offered her hindquarters to the male. Recognizing this for what it was, I managed to turn Lola away just as the male's huge erection made itself known and we went on to see other animals.
This is the conversation that ensued:
"Why are their bottoms all poofy?"
"You mean hairy? Monkeys are hairy everywhere."
"No, where they don't have hair. I mean, like swollen."
"Well, it's Spring. And that means it's time for the animals to think about making babies. The girls get swollen bottoms to show the boys where they need to go to make babies."
"EEWWWW! I hope my bottom never looks like that!"