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Little Attenborough

Which of the following animals do you think that my two year old daughter Meri would most want to play with:

  1. A delicate and colourful ladybird
  2. A fluffy little bunny rabbit
  3. A python

Well, I found out yesterday and the answer was a bit of a surprise

My family has just enjoyed a very zoological weekend. My daughter, Meri, is fascinated by the animal kingdom and is quicksilver at naming a whole ark of animals and their associated noises. Our house frequently echoes with the sounds of the jungle and farmyard as Meri mimics her favourite creatures.

Being of that age we decided to take her to visit a farm. It was great – there were lots of cows (Moo!), sheep (Baa!) and pigs (sizzle, sizzle – sorry that’s what I say – Meri says oink!). And because it was spring there were even baby sheep and baby pigs. We had a great time right up until we met the rabbit. The farm staff brought out a delightful, cute, furry little bunny with a coat that was as soft as silk and ears as floppy as politician’s principles. All the other little children lined up to touch, cuddle and fuss the rabbit. Meri was happy to observe from afar but every time I tried to get her to actually touch the animal she recoiled as if I had tasered her.

The following day, we were playing in the garden and Meri spotted a ladybird. She was fascinated and so I went over and gently coaxed the beautiful creature onto my hand. When I tried to get Meri to take it on her hand she was terrified. She ran a mile (which is totally different to what happened last year when she first saw a ladybird – she picked it up and tried to eat it – not the sharpest tool in the box my little girl…)

That afternoon, though, we went to our local church hall where a monthly playgroup is run for disabled children and their families. Unbeknownst to me, the organiser had arranged for a local exotic pet shop to bring in a surprise. Jaws fell when the van from “Petzoti” turned up and two burley men carried a writhing duvet cover into the hall. They opened it up and out tumbled a snake. Not just any snake, but a twelve foot long albino Burmese python what weighed over six and a half stone. Clare, my wife who has a phobia about snakes ran to the far end of the hall and cowered in the kitchen. Meri, on the other hand was as calm as an Attenborough. She sat on my lap and after watching me touch the snake was perfectly happy to stroke it whilst smiling and saying to me “Meri touched the snake!” 

Of all the creatures that she met that weekend, the one that Meri liked the best the one that could strangle her to death and literally swallow her whole. As I may have mentioned earlier in this article – sometimes my little girl isn’t the sharpest tool in the box.


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