Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Playground ethics

Last Friday, I got off work early, so I picked Tobin up from school instead of Matt doing so. Tobin and his class were still outside, and their teacher was passing out little cups of water for them to drink. This made for a hilarious scene with little ones milling around and, among other things, spilling water, on purpose and not; pointing at ice! in each other's cups; and sitting down cutely on a little bench to politely sip water next to a friend. Tobin, by the way, did all of these things. A couple of the kids were pestering each other, and Tobin's teacher said, "Conner, be nice." And there was an echo of this in a familiar little voice. Then his teacher said, "Angus (yes, a serious name for a little boy but this kid is really cute), be nice!" And, again, the little echo. Yes, Tobin had taken it upon himself to repeat his teacher's mild reprimands. I asked Tobin if he was telling Angus to "be nice," which he confirmed by saying it again. I thought this was adorable. So when we were hanging out with Hannah later and she predictably started barking at some unknown threat to our safety (a squirrel! a car! our neighbor!), I told Tobin to tell her: "Shh, Hannah, be nice!" Which he did, repeatedly.

Fast forward to yesterday when Matt picked T up from school and spent a few minutes playing outside by throwing a ball to Tobin and a few of the other kids. At one point, Matt threw the ball in Tobin's direction and Angus tried to intercept this pass. Unsuccessfully. Oh yes, Tobin, who is developing catching skills of late, caught the ball instead. Then my sweet, little, cherubic son gave Angus a hard shove in his chest. (Gasp! Sniff.) Angus stumbled backwards but didn't fall, and seemed miffed but not upset. Matt immediately scooped T up and said something like, "No, we don't push our friends, Tobin." Sensing this was probably a good time to leave, Matt took Tobin inside his classroom to wash his hands before heading home. While at the sink, Matt asked, "Tobin, do we push Angus?" Tobin did this thing he's started to do when admonished: rolled his eyes. It's not an annoyed eye-roll but more like an attempt to avoid eye contact; he does a similar thing when strangers try to talk with him. (Ha!) And then Tobin answered his dad's question (about whether pushing Angus was appropriate behavior) with a drawn-out "Noooo" while shaking his head. T then added: "Tobin, be nice!" At which point, I imagine Matt lost his attempts at being a stern disciplinarian and cracked a smile. And might have even laughed. And, of course, praised Tobin for an excellent answer!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

To the zoo we go

We're in Louisville for my Spring break. Last week, when we were planning our trip, my mom mentioned that we could visit the Louisville Zoo. They have a 1-year-old elephant named Scotty. I don't remember how Tobin first heard the phrase "baby elephant," but it's been a regular part of his vocabulary ever since. After some rain in the morning, the skies cleared Monday afternoon for our trip. Tobin, his mom and dad, and his granddad and grandma all piled in the van and headed off to the zoo. We had such a good time we stayed until the zoo closed for the day. The weather was perfect and Tobin was in good spirits. Below are a few pictures and a couple of videos we'd like to share with you.

First, we saw giraffes, which Tobin loves because of the song "Joshua Giraffe" by Raffi. Tobin kept saying "Big Josh!" when we saw them.
big big josh!
After that, we saw the elephants. Tobin correctly identified them (ep-pitants & baby ep-pitant alike). He pointed to them and even remarked "Pee-yew poop" when one of the elephants deposited significantly.

where's the baby elephant?

We were in for a treat next when we heard a lion roaring as we rounded the corner from the elephants. Here's what Tobin had to say:

On our way to see the gorilla exhibit, Tobin saw monkeys and zebras and then had his first adventure: a cut-through off the sidewalk called the "Hippo Trail." Tobin (with some encouragement from me the first time) had to duck under a log to rejoin the path on the other side. He loved it, even after falling down and getting himself dirty once. His face does a better job communicating his feelings about the Hippo trail than I can:

T crouches

After seeing gorillas, we saw lorikeets in an open exhibit. According to their keeper, they're very social birds. It took them only a few minutes to show it:
grandma snack?

Shortly after, Tobin found the concrete tortoise that he loved as much as any real animal in the zoo. We have a few pictures of him on the tortoise at our flickr site. After climbing on the tortoise for a while, Tobin noticed the birds: ducks and peacocks. He chased them around for 10 or 15 minutes. I was lucky enough to get him on video:

Tobin brought home a stuffed giraffe and a stuffed turtle from his first zoo trip, but the memories I'll keep from his first trip to the zoo are my souvenirs. Granddad suggested a dinner out, so we left the zoo for a nice meal (see Allison's previous post).