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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Learning About Animal Shoes

On Mother's Day, we made the trek into Washington, D.C. to visit the National Zoo. We had a wonderful time, with the highlights of the day being the pandas (of course!), the lemurs and the elephants. Why these three animals?

Well, if you have to ask about the pandas, then you probably aren't a member of the China-adoption community. Most moms who adopt a child from China fall into one of two categories: Die-Hard Member of the Ladybug Clique or Among the Panda Obsessed. I fall into the latter group, so much so that we have an entire room in our home dedicated to the lovable animal. (Embarrassing, I know. What can I say?)


As for the lemurs... they are the Husband's all-time favorite animal. He actually forced us to eat our picnic lunch sitting in front of the lemur habitat so that we could observe them longer.

On a park bench.

Which means no table.

Now do you see what I mean by the word obsessed?

However, today the lemurs also became a favorite of mine. Why? I discovered something after we arrived home and I uploaded the day's photographs. We possess two similar and outstanding photographs of the Tongginator standing in front of the lemur habitat -- one as a toddler and one from this past weekend. Too cute! (And no, you won't see those photos since they ARE face shots. Go ahead, hate me. I don't care.)

at 26 months ............. lemurs ............. at 4 years, 2 months

The Tongginator absolutely adored the elephants! Surprisingly, I fell in love with the smelly creatures, too... all because of a touching encounter with some elderly folks originally from China. The moment began when the Tongginator asked a very simple question while many Chinese and Chinese-Americans stood nearby. (Yes, their ethnicity is important to the story.)

TONGGINATOR: Momma, why don't elephants wear shoes?

TONGGU MOMMA: Well, honey bear, God gives elephants really tough and hard feet so that they don't need to wear shoes. People are the only animals that wear shoes.

TONGGINATOR: That's not true, Momma.

TONGGU MOMMA: Yes, it is honey bear. Animals don't wear shoes.

TONGGINATOR: Yes they do, too, Momma. Some animals do.

TONGGU MOMMA: (sigh) No, they don't. (yes, I know, very mature arguing with a four-year-old)

TONGGINATOR: Momma, horses wear shoes.

TONGGU MOMMA: (laughing now, since she caught me) You're right, Tongginator. Horses DO wear shoes. Momma was wrong!

At this point, most of the people surrounding us began laughing (hopefully at the Tongginator's precociousness and not at me!). An elderly Chinese person smiled at me and asked, "She is your daughter?" When I nodded my head, my new favorite stranger shared, "She is very smart. She... SHE... will care for you well in your old age. You are very lucky."

Wow.

What makes this story so special is the emphasis the on-looker placed on the word "she." Many Chinese people, especially those of the older generations, fear that a daughter cannot care for her elderly parents as well as a son can. They want daughters, but feel they NEED sons. This stranger sought to reassure me and compliment our little Tongginator all at the same time.

What a neat moment. I now love elephants. And when I later told my girlfriends Canuck K and Strawberry (who, by the way, is married to a Chinese-American man), they also felt extremely touched by the story, pointing out to me that God gave me this encounter as a lovely Mother's Day present. And yes, it quickly took away the sting of my so-called non-mom status.


Other favorite zoo photographs:


















The Tongginator, brilliant as she is, discovers quite quickly that hippos stink to high heaven!


















Okay, now she's MAD that the orangutans are not utilizing the wonderful services of the O Line. She told them to swing along it, but they didn't listen! I hope she learns soon that animals don't bend to her will the way most people some people Tonggu Daddy does.


















She asked, "Momma, can I do that?" I had to restrain myself from shouting "no, you may not!" Instead, I replied in a thoroughly reasonable tone of voice, "Maybe when you're a grown-up you can do it... but only if you become a zoo keeper." (Yes, people, I may be stupid - since I forgot that horses wear shoes - but I DO learn from my mistakes.)

9 comments:

OH MY #6 said...

Hi,

thanx for stopping by to visit me.

Love your BLOG. But, better yet I loved reading your profile.

May I add you to my sidebar?

Lea

Mrs. Darling said...

Oh my what a busy little girl you have! LOl

Never a dull day with her I can tell! We're going to the zoo today. We're lookign forward to it!

Rhonda said...

What a sweet story. :)

discombobulated said...

Yes, what a nice Mother's Day present.

Mamatini said...

Ooooh, that's one smart cookie! Really, Tonggu Momma, you are going to have to eat your Wheaties to keep up with her!

Gerbil said...

We have yet to make our first zoo trip but i'm looking forward to it. short stuff likes lemurs but monkeys are His Best Thing.

Becoming Me said...

Great photos. I love visiting zoo's. We are going to an aquarium in a few weeks and I cannot wait

Debz said...

Great pics. What a cutie and witty too!
OK so lemurs......seen em ,never knew what they were. Love thier fluffy tails.

Chris & Deb said...

How fun to have been at the Washington Zoo! Loved the cute story too!