Friday, March 27, 2009


We went to the zoo yesterday. One way to give your kids a crash course in sex education is to take them to the zoo in spring. It is ripe with the circle of life. First, we were treated to the miracle of birth with the new baby lemur born in January. I can't begin to describe its cuteness. It was so tiny, yellowish, and was nursing on and off, between hiding under its mother. Now then, there you have birth -- sweet, pure, a lovely little example of life.

Next to the tiny, sweet, nursing baby lemur, we saw the humping adult lemurs.

Ah yes. The story of how the miracle of life begins. At some point during the oohing and aaawing over the baby lemur, one could hear a crescendo of adult voices singing, "Oh...oh no. Oh my...let's move on now, shall we?" Of course, when there's a baby lemur, it's pretty hard to get a group of children to move on to the next exhibit, humping lemurs or no humping lemurs. Luckily, we escaped that one with Rhubarb only having noticed that I kept covering my eyes.

Next, we moved on to the gorillas. There, happily sitting in the corner with a serene grin, was one of the male gorillas. I was looking at his face when Rhubarb asked, "Mamma, is that his [insert technical term for the male happy handle here so I don't have to write it in my blog and get weird people doing nasty searches coming here]?" Why, indeed it was his happy handle. And he was holding it. And massaging it ever so excitedly. Lesson 2: Self stimulation.

On to the pregnant ape. Have you ever seen a pregnant ape? It looks like a naked pregnant woman covered in hair and really really irritated. Poor ape. She was clearly exhausted and clearly already lactating.

Finally, on our spring tour of the cycle of life, we join the tiger and his large hairy maleness. "Is that poop Mamma?" "Mamma, what is hanging down?" "Mamma, why are they so big?" "Are they coming out of his butt?" Do you know how many questions can be asked about a tiger's large hairy maleness?

There you have it: spring at the zoo. The good news is that, as both teacher and mother, I will not have kids coming home and asking very confusing and disturbing questions about what they saw. I was there. I know what they saw on this field trip.

And now I must go wash my eyes out with the soap.

I leave you with a comment made by an 11-12 year old boy leaving the exhibit of the gorilla enjoying his happy handle: "That was the best exhibit we've seen so far."

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