Gorillas and Time Management and Self Care

Gorilla Eating

Image courtesy of Jarapet. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I have come up with a fail-safe way to test whether you are ready to have children at This Moment in Your Life. Ready? Here it is:

  1. Go to the zoo during the first nice-weather Saturday in the last two weeks.
  2. Meander on over to the tamarin exhibit.
  3. Decide whether you think that the five-year-old screaming, “AHHHHHH” every time the tamarins move for two minutes straight provokes an “awwww” response out of you or an “AHHHHH” of your very own. If the latter, maybe hold off on spawning!

I spend so little of my time around children, particularly children in groups. Hell, I spend very little of my time around adults that are not in the 18-22 range, or at least did before I got a job. (My coworkers have children! And hobbies that are not drinking and being sad! Truly it is a brave new world.) After being in Senegal last year, I thought my view towards them had softened. I had been around kids! They didn’t hate me!

I had forgotten what happens when the children clump together. Because then? All bets are off.

Children aside, the zoo was great fun. I spend so much of my class time learning about non-human primates via YouTube videos that I forget that you can, you know, go look at them for real. Which I did! Much to my excitement, our gorilla troupe┬áhad a newborn, and she was out, and it was phenomenally cute. Because if that infant was making noise? I couldn’t hear it! Continue reading

On Tattoos and Children

I had a quick, bizarre interaction with my middle host niece today. She’s three, and because she is little she has not quite realized that my inability to speak Wolof is indicative of a single missing skill, rather than general idiocy. (Her sister, who is five, has figured out that I understand her beginning French and most hand gestures. We work it out.)

She was sitting on the eating mat and looking at my feet. I figured she was checking out my shoes, since they’re gold. She said something to me in Wolof that I completely did not understand, both because it was exclusively composed of verbs I don’t know and because she’s three and kind of mumbles.

My host dad laughed at what it was that she said, and answered back. They chatted for a minute before he turned to me and (in French) said, “She likes your tattoo.”

Continue reading