During the majority of last year, we were crazy for Wild Kratts. Addicted. Obsessed. Though I try to avoid that particularly overutilized word. Magazines these days are filled with women obsessed with every new latte, lipstick and song they come across.
Anyway, for those of you not steeped in the cartoon culture of today, Wild Kratts is about two real-life Canadian brother animal experts that turn into cartoon versions of themselves and then solve creature problems in their creature power suits. Click here for a more in-depth refresher from last July.
Although Jake’s craving for Wild Kratts has diminished, he is no less interested in animals. I’m convinced his friend Stuart instantly rose to best friend status when we caught site of him on Halloween in an impressive homemade Peregrine falcon costume.
Over the years, I’ve questioned Jake’s animal knowledge. I’ve incredulously eye-rolled. Pigeon milk? Peregrine falcons in our very own front yard? That’s clearly a serval and that’s clearly a caracal? Have I ever been right when challenging the animal knowledge of this five-year-old?
In a word? No. Whenever Jake proves me wrong, I hear this song in my head: Another one bites the dust. And another one gone, and another one gone. Another one bites the dust…
Over the holidays, I was reminded of a Sunday last August when I had brunch plans and James took the boys to Happy Hollow. Serendipitously, the traveling summer animal show was on stage, only it had been renamed from the previous year and now involved more audience participation. This new show was titled, “Are You Smarter than a Lemur?”
Unfortunately, I missed the entire thing, but James’ retelling went something like this:
We’re sitting in the audience and they ask for two audience volunteers to participate in an animal quiz. Without hesitation, Jacob raises his hand and pushes his way toward the front. Historically shy when faced with this type of opportunity, James is super surprised.
As luck would have it, Jake is chosen. He’s matched up against a little girl they both estimate to be older. Although approaching the cusp of five-and-a-half, after they each write their names, the odds don’t look good. The contestants pet a real alligator, and a skunk. They put a lemur on the little girl’s shoulders, but it immediately leaps onto Jake.
As he said to me a few months ago when I uncovered a baby salamander in the front flower bed, “Mom, Mom. Give it to me… Give it to me. I’m an animal lover.” Clearly the lemur must have sensed this.
Back to the show… Fortunately, Jake has mastered the ability to legibly write his name, but back then, that’s as literate as he gets.
There are a series of multiple choice animal questions. He gets his first question right. She gets her first question wrong. He gets the next question right. James sees the host is attempting to “rig” it so the kids will tie. Jacob brings it home with a definitive answer for the win. It’s a landslide. Another one bites the dust.
The picture James texts me tells it all.
During our Christmas break, we made our annual pilgrimage to Yosemite. There was more snow than last year, but that’s not saying much. I’ll have to try and capture some of the highlights of that little vacation in another post. In any case, Alesia was entertaining the four little monkeys and they were playing animals or doctor or vets in the wild and I hear Alesia and Jake challenging one another. If you know these two, it was probably inevitable. Scratch that. Entirely inevitable. Alesia is a senior executive at a financial institution. Jake thinks he’s a senior executive at any institution.
Alesia claims that some porcupines can shoot their quills. Jake disagrees. We have no Internet connection and so the facts cannot be confirmed.
Charles, Alesia’s significant other, comes up from the ground floor and Alesia turns to him as the expert on porcupines. (??). “Charles, aren’t there some porcupines that shoot their quills?”
“Mmm, no, I don’t believe so. Pretty sure I just saw that last week on an episode of Wild Kratts.”
And another one gone, and another one gone…. Another one bites the dust.
PS: When Jake was asked to recall the Happy Hollow story he tells me, “Uhhh… all I remember is that I’m smarter than a lemur.”