Not long after we left the Keiki Zoo, we came to the rhino enclosure. The female rhino came forward to take a good look at the strange creatures staring at her. I believe it was Chez’s piping call of “Looky! Looky! Looky!” that caught her attention.
The kids oh-ed and ah-ed and pointed things out to each other — including the hair fringe that hung down over her ears. I said it grew there to keep bugs out of her ears. Ms. Jewls said those were her pigtails. The kids thought we were both funny.
Cass said, “Bugs don’t grow in ears, Silly.”
Kevin said, “Rhinosaurases no has pigged-tails.”
Gordy said, “Can I … mumble, mumble mumble.” He speaks very softly, and asking him to repeat something generally means he’ll get even quieter.
I said, “I couldn’t hear you, honey, what do you want?”
Gordy said, ” … mumble, mumble, nocerous, please.”
I said, “Can’t you see? Do you need to be picked up?”
Frustrated, Gordy shook his head and stamped his foot. The rest of the class was already moving away. I caught Chez’s hand, then motioned with the other for Gordy to follow. He shook his head no, grabbed my fingers in both his hands and pulled me toward him. Still holding Chez with my left hand, I bent down. Gordy whispered, “But I wanna pet the nocerous.”
“Pet it!” I exclaimed.
Chez squeaked, “No way! No way!” He stretched my left arm about three inches longer trying to leave.
And Gordy queried, “Can I?”
I said, “Honey, we can’t pet the rhino!”
Gordy said, “Will it bite me?”
I said, “Yes! Right after it steps on you and squishes you! The horn on it’s nose is bigger than you are!”
Gordy thought that was funny. He laughed.
Chez, still tugging on my arm, sing-song-ed, “Squishy, squishy, bye, bye! Squishy, squishy, bye, bye!”