As far as I know my girls have not actually watched any David Attenborough style nature programmes. They are, in my opinion, a bit young for the harsh lessons of survival of the fittest and witnessing baby animals get ripped from their mothers by a starving lion. I know that’s nature and that’s the natural order of things but there’s plenty of time for the harsh realities of life.
So it was with some bemusement that Eliza asked me this morning which was the most endangered animal. As is usual with my children this was apropos of nothing, just a standard random question. It was about 6.15 am.
“Hmmm, not entirely sure darling, maybe a Panda or a Bengal Tiger perhaps?” I thought briefly of the sabre toothed tiger as I seem to recall seeing pictures of them at school but realised that possibly they were extinct around the time of the hairy mammoth.
“No I don’t think it’s the Panda Mummy. What’s a Bengal Tiger?”
“It’s a tiger. From Bengal.”
“No Mummy. Let’s ask Daddy.” Mummy fail.
She duly asked her father, “Ask Mummy to Google it darling.” And he rolled over in an attempt to get back to sleep.
Somewhere between getting her dressing gown on and getting downstairs the request lost its urgency and we moved on to the more prosaic job of ‘dishwasher detail’. We empty it together and reload it. She’s a very accomplished kitchen helper.
I then had to go to work for a few hours, but said I would return with bicycle baskets for them both, since Eliza has 5 stars on her reward chart (mostly for being nice to Tilly and taking deep breaths when she’s angry – this has helped ALOT, more in another post) and Tilly has been good at going to bed and sleeping all night for some time now (clearly she will now wake up all night, such is the curse of the assumption that you’ve Turned A Corner).
As it happened the bike shop near Waterloo station doesn’t sell children’s bicycle baskets, in fact the man looked like at me like I’d landed from Mars to even suggest such a thing – it’s a bike shop not a bloody toy shop – he didn’t say that but he didn’t need to. So when I got home I took them off to Halfords which has yet to let me down on a child’s bike related purchase.
We duly bought the baskets. They were beside themselves.
So on the short drive home Eliza had another David Attenborough moment.
“Mummy, what’s the least endangered animal?”
“The least? Oh I don’t know, probably a rat or something, there’s loads of them.”
“No Mummy of the endangered animals which one is the least endangered?”
“Oh I see.” No idea. Not a single clue, but I can Never Appear Not to Know. “Maybe a lion or something?”
“No, there’s loads of Lions Mummy.” She said in her ‘you are really just a bit dim-witted’ kind of voice.
“Yes there are a few, well maybe a normal Tiger.”
Tilly was listening and decided she had a contribution, “There are lots of Armadillos, they’re not en-dan-gered.”
“No they’re probably not, hmmm I don’t know, let’s look it up when we get home.”
“An owl perhaps? I think owls are rare but not snowy owls.” Eliza still pondering her initial question.
Once again the urgency of knowing about our endangered species lessened somewhat when I attached the baskets to their bikes and they cycled Milo and Cat around the garden and collected various treasures as they went. It’s possible they were collected endangered plants, but I couldn’t be sure. This is Surrey after all not the Amazon.
ps: The Black Rhino and the Mako Shark are number one and number 10 on the most endangered list of large animals. Just in case you were interested.