S got a stuffed animal gorilla at the May Festival last month and it's gone everywhere with us ever since.
I don't mind really, he's a good-looking gorilla as far as stuffed gorillas go, it's just that he's a little on the large side and not easy to slip into a vest pocket or a canvas shoulder bag when he gets handed to me on various outings which inevitably happens.
The gorilla obsession has led us to check out a number of library books about gorillas which have led to us learning quite a lot about gorillas, the most major point being that gorilla's are a lot like us. As if we couldn't have figured that out just by looking at them. For an enormous animal they are relatively passive, they are vegetarians, they take care of their young and live in social groups.
So here comes the heartbreaking part.
They are also - like every big animal - seriously endangered. This always comes as no surprise to adults but as a bit of a shock to kids. It would be so much easier if our children would just form attachments to earth worms or herring gulls or dung beetles, or some other animal that we have on the planet in abundance.
But no - it's always elephants, tigers or gorillas and who can blame them? They are beautiful, impressive animals which are either caught in the crossfire of a remote civil war (such is the case with gorillas), being hunted to extinction, or live in habitats that have shrunken to the size of postage stamps.
S was genuinely sad to find out that gorillas are endangered. His suggestion was that we help out by getting one for a pet.
I reminded him of how much gorillas eat every day and that we'd never be able to afford to feed such a large pet.
I then suggested that we have a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to one of the African preserves we read about where gorillas live.
His response: "That's a great idea, Mommy. We can have a lemonade stand and use the money to buy food to feed our pet gorilla."
I love his sentiment - and his ability to think outside the box. But we still can't get a gorilla.
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