As most of you probably know, Carson is an animal obsessed child. He spends the majority of his free time setting up his totes of animals in different arrangement depending on whether the animals are in "captivity" or in the "savanna." Besides playing with these animals at home, he pretends that he is an animal (usually either an elephant or lion) most of the time. It is no surprise when he doesn't respond to his name and then requests to be called by whatever animal he is at the moment. I try to allow this as much as I can. I have seen his imagination grow over the past two years because of his exposure to zoo animals so often. We are VERY fortunate to have Laurie and her family living in Omaha. Without them there, I'm sure his passion for animals wouldn't be what it is today. The last time Carson was at the zoo was in October. I think this is the longest stretch he's gone between zoo visits in the last two years as we won't make it out there again until late February. Sometimes, the growls and trumpets come at the WRONG time. Explaining to Carson that it is not an appropriate place to be an animals is sometimes a challenge. Although it is sometimes hilarious, Carson tends to scare some other children by making animal sounds. He has no idea why it is "not nice" to be a lion at that specific time and place, but none-the-less, the kids who do not know him, look at him like he's crazy. Fortunately, the kids at daycare have accepted that Carson likes to be an animal, and now I think a lot of them join him. As we don't have cable, a lot of the time we spend watching T.V. is actually movies. He doesn't really care to watch any movie that doesn't involve an animal or dragon. His current favorites are the Narnia series and The Wizard of Oz.
One of the glories of subbing is that I am able to spend some days at home playing with Carson. Already this morning, I have been a zookeeper to a herd of zebra and wildebeests, watched a lion pride at the watering hole, and seen a herd of mother elephants circle around their young. Some of this Carson has seen in movies like Plant Earth or Animal Atlas or even on T.V. on stations like Animal Planet, but a lot of it has come from him being read to and all of the trips to the zoo. Carson's passion for animals has forced me to know more about animals. Now, I enjoy sharing bits of animals trivia I've picked up along the way and sharing it with my students. They love it! If your kiddos are at all interested in animals, www.africam.com is a really neat website. There are live cameras placed at watering holes on the African savanna. We've seen quite a few animals stop at them... It's amazing how they interact with each other.