Posted by: ginki0 | May 19, 2012


It’s interesting when life just converges on a lesson for you with no planning. It’s so surreal and supernatural. That’s exactly what happened today.

We decided to take the day off potty training so that we could go to the museum in the morning. On our way down to the river, Bugs wanted to sing the five little ducks song. If you don’t know it, it goes something like this: “Five little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away. Mama duck said Quack Quack Quack Quack, but only four little ducks came back” and so on until you get to no little ducks, at which point Mama duck goes looking for her prodigal offspring and they all come running back.

We talked about how we were going over some big hills, just like the little ducks. Then, at the museum, we looked around like usual, with Bug leading the way and Smiley and I following in his wake. Smiley noticed the turtles for the first time, and he was so excited! He really enjoyed watching them, and tried really hard to say “turtle”. Bugs found a touch screen game which dealt with the diving ducks in a pool of the Mississippi just north of us. Basically, when the dam was built, it flooded the river just upstream, and the resulting higher waters and muddied waters killed the plants that were food for the ducks. It was a great program that gently showed ecosystems and the interconnectivity of things and how humans impact the environment, sometimes for the worse, and how we can apply ideas to fix things for creatures like the diving ducks. I enjoyed it, but what I didn’t expect was for Bugs to enjoy it so much. He played it three times in a row, telling me what was happening. “Look, the plants are going away!” Another really cool thing was that this was a very current and very local problem- the Corps of Engineers only a year or two ago or so had begun working on it, implementing all the strategies the game talks about just north of us on the river. I took Bug over to the giant map on the wall to show him where this was going on and where we were.

It was a shame we were only able to spend a little over an hour there, as Bug was finding new things to learn, such as the duck game and listening for electric fish with a probe and identifying the species by sound, as well as placing various species of catfish in their appropriate habitat in a puzzle game they have. Oh! And apparently they have a Great Horned Owl, which I had never seen there before. Even more, Smiley was really getting in to it. In the past, he has basically just come along for the ride and I will try to point things out to him and tell him the names of things and try to engage him while he remains mostly passive- maybe because of information overload. This was the first visit that he actually took an active interest and even more so, got super excited! The two things he wanted to see were the greater sirens and the turtles I mentioned before. There will be next week to go back and learn more, though, and the next week, and the next week. In fact, we go so often that the receptionist saw us walking in and had our tickets ready for us before we even got to the counter!

Ok, so back to the life lesson converging thing. Tonight, wouldn’t you know that Bug picked the book Curious George and the Dump Truck to read for bed time. He had never read it before, and he seemed to enjoy the story when Smiley wasn’t distracting him. Smiley seemed bored by the story. Anyway, in this story, George follows a mama duck and ducklings to the park, where there is a big dump truck full of dirt. In his usual mischievous way, George accidentally unloads the dirt in the dump truck into the pond, where the gardeners discover that the ducks really liked having an island in the pond. Then everyone gathers to feed the ducks, and everyone is happy especially the ducks in their new home. It was a great addition to the diving ducks lesson, where Bugs learned that one way to help save the ducks was to build islands.

Anyway, although I didn’t plan it, today was a duck day, and a good day at that!

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