Anyway, while we were there, my children each had out of body experiences. Experiences that I would call out of character for them. The Nutty Papa enjoyed the stories of the day and laughed as my children had these out of body experiences. I, however, felt ponderous. Here is the Doodlebug with a rare opportunity to meet Shamu. Shamu was outside greeting the guests. My friend the eye doctor's youngest son was beside himself. Giddy with glee. He couldn't contain his joy. The Doodlebug, my socialite, was not so joyous. She sat in the stroller, watching as the boys loved on the large black and white character. She took in the scene. Watched. Waited.
When it was her turn, she cautiously exited the stroller and approached Shamu. Shamu saw her timidness and got down on his knees... wait a minute... killer whales don't have knees. He got down on his tail? He got down so low, it looked like he got on his belly. Anyway, he lowered himself to her level and held out his flippers for a hug. The Doodlebug shook one. When Shamu didn't get up, she realized he wanted more. After getting the go ahead from Mama, she slowly approached Shamu for a hug, gave him one, and returned to her stroller. Done. Not the highlight of her day. But done.
This exchange was surprising for me to witness as the Doodlebug knows no strangers. Fears no conversation. Loves attention. And yet, when confronted with a large black and white furry killer whale, who is out of water, she freezes. Ponderous.
(We took about an hour and played in the splash park. No surprise there. The Doodlebug was lost in the world of fun. Running. Playing. Laughing at herself when she got herself wet. No surprises there. Typical Doodlebug. I just wanted to share this fun picture! Doesn't that make you wanna run out there and get wet with her?!?)
Here's Chojuk. He got kissed by the Beluga whale. This was a surprise. We had to sign up for the Beluga kiss early in the day. Then we went and saw shows and did other things until the time arrived for the kiss. When I told Chojuk we would be doing this, he was worried. I could see it in his eyes. He wanted nothing to do with that. He said so too. "I don't wanna do that, Mama." Too bad. The Nutty Papa reminded me that I'm that way too. He has to drag me, kicking and screaming, into new experiences. Once we are there and done, I usually thank him. Chojuk is a lot like me. Well, we were getting kissed by the Beluga whale. His little brother, the Snugglebug, was going to love it. I'm sure. He's an animal lover and loves all things animal. I was doing this for him. For Chojuk, it was just a tag along. But I wanted him to have the experience if he wanted it. So we were going.
When it was time for the kiss, Chojuk started getting nervous. When they called him up there, I half expected a screaming fit. But he bravely walked right over to that Beluga whale and got a kiss. (He later told me that he held his breath and closed his eyes and just did it.) I was so proud of him!! It's great to witness your kids overcome a fear. Way to go, Chojuk!
Then there was the Snugglebug... my animal lover. He's the kid that the animals follow. We go to the zoo. The animals come to him and follow him as he walks around their cages. He has animal energy. They love him. He loves them. Animal lover.
Well, I learned yesterday, his animal loving tendencies stop with big fish. When we arrived at the tanks, he was excited. He watched the Beluga whales with anticipation, wanting that interaction with them. But when it was his turn, he didn't get kissed. He walked over to the side of the tank with the trainer, leaned over for the kiss, and when that big ol' Beluga whale came up for a kiss, he backed off. Hmmm. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe he didn't understand what was happening. They tried again. Nope. He pulled away again. He wasn't having anything to do with Beluga kisses. He finally looked at the trainer and said, "I don't wanna do this." So they let him go. I quickly pulled my jaw off the floor and we left. I couldn't believe it. I thought this would be a dream come true. I just couldn't get it.
I called the Nutty Papa. "You'll never guess what happened just now. The Snugglebug wouldn't get the Beluga kiss. He pulled away!!" And you know what the Nutty Papa's reaction was? Laughter. He laughed. What? Why is he laughing? Doesn't he understand the severity in this? My Snugglebug is afraid of animals. He's scarred for life! He'll never want to be around animals again! How can you laugh at a time like this?!?
Then he explained. Apparently what went through the Snugglebug's head was the thought that maybe this big whale was going to grab him with those big teeth and pull him into the water. Maybe that big whale was going to bite his head off. Maybe that big whale was going to hurt him. And the one thing I know the Snugglebug is afraid of is water. Hmmm. The Nutty Papa sure is smart. Thanks for explainin' that.