Reptiles and Richard Nixon
Knowing the DNA passed on to my children, I shouldn’t be surprised that certain things happen.
That my daughter negotiates, says exactly what she’s thinking and asks difficult questions is no more a shock than my oldest son being cerebral and my youngest son being adventurous. They get it honestly.
Recently, at Reptile Week, they combined and shared all of their wonderful traits.
Reptile Week began Saturday and runs through 4:30 p.m. at Richard Nixon Park in Springfield Township. In addition to meeting snakes, turtles, frogs, lizards and more, hours-long seminars are also being hosted to educate visitors on the reptiles that inhabit the state’s waterways and wetlands.
As my little ones always say, “Reptiles are cool.”
Considering that, and because we live close to the park, we’ve recently spent a lot of time learning about everything from boas to box turtles.
About 40 people have been showing up to each seminar, and families have filled other parts of the park, checking out the various reptile displays.
At a seminar focusing on turtles, my 5-year-old son Ty–and other children his age–answered questions and shared everything he knew about one of his favorite reptiles.
Watching his eager arm sway in the air, I had no idea he knew so much about the difference between turtles and tortoises. I searched my memory for a conversation we may have had during a long car ride, a trip to the zoo, a book we may have read, but I couldn’t recall discussing that difference with him.
But now that I know he’s passionate about those reptiles, we will be buying and downloading all the information we can. And several Google searches have already commenced. After all, one of the best parts of being a parent is learning and re-learning things.
Another of my favorite parts of being a mother is sitting in on such seminars, listening to all the things kids say. One little boy spent a considerable amount of time telling stories about every pet he’s ever had–none of which were reptiles. His story was charming, and I appreciated his spirit.
Likewise, Ty regaled the audience with knowledge of where turtles like to live and everything he had done the day before.
“Hey, guess what, my sister and I caught fireflies last night. We poked holes in my mom’s containers and put grass in them so they can live in there,” he said.
My 3-year-old Dimitri (loudly) said, “Me too.” Then he announced to the room that he had to pee.
But why I’m sure we will really be remembered is because my precocious 8-year-old daughter Cienna decided to ask a volunteer about the county park, which bears a large painting of President Nixon in the main entrance of the Nature Center.
“Why is this Richard Nixon park? Wasn’t he a bad president?” she said.
The (very kind and patient) volunteer explained the land for the park was donated in 1968 and named for the newly-elected President Nixon (years before the 1972 Watergate scandal that eventually led to his resignation).
Cienna smiled and not-so-quietly whispered to me, “Maybe they should rename it.”
And then I left a considerable gift in the donation box, hoping we will be greeted with smiles when we return.