Exhibit A: My mom remembers a time when she was eavesdropping on my dad and me reading a book about an octopus when I was about 2. Thinking I was a normal toddler, he commented on how many arms the octopus had. I then said in my most serious munchkin voice, "You mean tentacles, Daddy." I'm sure he never thought I was a normal toddler again.
Exhibit B: My dad recollects taking me to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium when I was 4 or 5, a trip in anticipation of which I had babbled about the octopus exhibit for days. The aquarium is structured circularly with a raised ledge for little ones to stand on to see better. I was absentmindedly walking around this ledge when WHAM! I came face to face with a huge octopus sprawled across the glass of his tank. The shock of it scared me backwards and nearly onto my keister. I asked if the octopus could unlock his tank and get me, and when my dad said no I pointed out to him that we couldn't be sure because there was obviously no padlock on the tank. Luckily he'd likely grown to expect this from me after having experienced the infallible logic of Exhibit A.
And so, as part of a strong family tradition and my personal prediliction, I took Olivia to see divers interacting with a Giant Pacific octopus named Electra (appropriate for a little girl whose only discernible word is "DADADADADADADA!").
First things first - the fashion:
Lean back, Fat Joe.
If an occasion ever called for an octopus shirt, this would be it.
Here we are in front of the big tank awaiting the octopus and her human friends. I am clearly thrilled. She is clearly confused. Fair enough. We found one of the few remaining benches and waited for the show. Another mother whose little boys were sitting on carpet squares directly in front of the glass sat next to me. While I engaged Mom Rock Mode to keep Olivia happy, my benchmate unconsciously joined me in sycopated oscillation. Moms are all connected like that. We're a tribe of swaying soothers.
Then the octopus came! Although she is technically a Giant Pacific octopus, she was smaller than I expected.
See what I mean? Big and neat, but not BIG and NEAT! Olivia was finished with the presentation after about 7 minutes and started whining. It was clear that Livy felt a great empathy for the besieged octopus whose solitary nature was so cruelly violated as Electra was prodded and pulled by divers eager to display her body to leagues of nosy humans. Olivia's a softie like that. I'm sure she would have been more satisfied with the experience had Electra shot some warning ink at the divers and yanked at least one regulator out of one mouth. She's a softie like that, too.
So away we wandered to check out the rest of the aquarium. Olivia was a big fan of the seahorses and a huge baitball in an overhead tank.
Baitball: So much better packed in olive oil with some garlic and maybe a red pepper.
Ceiling fish > stupid musical mobile at home.
Then we defaced a children's coloring table,
visited the old dome of the aquarium that amazed me when I was a kid,
Everything is smaller to my adult's eye except for my enormous baby.
admired some snuggling river otters,
Even creatures with no concept of cutlery like to spoon.
bought some schwag,
and headed home.
Dreaming of 8-armed hugs.
A fine time was had by all!