Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tortoises can't Jump

This percipient remark was delivered, a propos of nothing, in the bathroom by my youngest. I rack ed my brains as to what it could refer to, meanwhile just agreeing in a humouring mum way with her.....

We'd been to feed the tortoises earlier, taking them some overripe watermelon, which they love, tearing off great chunks of rind and all (these are BIG tortoises, asylum seeking endangered Cape Mountain Tortoises that we provide a safe house for). The children love watching them eat, squatting down in a semi circle around them, an admiring audience. Every now and again a child will leap up to go and check out the other tortoise and if she gets to close or her shadow falls on the torty a huge husssss, like a jet of steam from a steam iron, emerges startlingly from this reptilian face. The children ask why. Assuming parental omniscient role I reply, "you gave him a fright, with your shadow falling over the food, maybe he thought you were a predator...or you just made him jump."

Several hours later this inexact use of language is thrown back at me as she washes her hands. Disbelievingly, obstinately, you can't fool me - "Tortoises CAN'T jump"


  1. A great example of how the brain of a child is always at work, processing what he sees and hears, trying to make sense of it all.

  2. A wise and pondering child. It's great that you could track her thoughts back to your remark. Sometimes their funnier statements are hard to figure out but if we can follow them back like you did, they make a lot of sense.

  3. The beauty of children is they question and process everything!
    Turtles cannot jump?

  4. That's great. It's always amazing when long after I've forgotten about something minor, a kid will still be actively trying to figure it out.


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