Parenting and family, served with a shot of vodka
It all started innocently enough. Last week, I was working at the preschool, enjoying the tale of “I Am An Owl” by Lorraine Hooker during circle time.
Then the teacher showed the kids an illustration of turtles on one page, and I had a hard time stifling my laughter because the turtles appeared to be engaged in adult relations. Don’t get me wrong, it was a purely innocent drawing. But to people more, um, worldly than four-and five-years olds, those tortoises were not giving a piggy back ride. It looked like they were totally doing it.
Because I am 13 in on the inside, I later talked to my friend about it how funny the whole thing was. She said she had once seen turtles knocking boots at the zoo, and that they were surprisingly loud.
At the time, her children were four and six. Her instinct was to tell her daughters that the turtles were playing, but the sounds were much too loud and awkward. So instead, she said they were arguing.
Of course, this newfound information inspired me to Google “turtles mating.” As you’d expect, turtle and tortoise lovemaking is slow as molasses. In one video, the female appears to be half-asleep, tapping her watch as though to say, “Wrap it up, B!” And my pal was not exaggerating, either. They are indeed vocal.
Feel free to take my word for it and skip the video, because this is something you can’t unsee and unhear. But, if inquiring minds really wants to know, don’t say you never learned anything from this blog:
(Side note: If I’m ever a victim of crime and the police take my laptop to look for clues, please don’t judge me because I watched turtle porn. It was research for this post. And yes, a video exists of a turtle getting down with a dark green Croc shoe. Apparently, they aren’t super discerning, either.)
Anyway. Believe it or not, this post isn’t actually all about turtles making sweet, sweet love. It’s about animals doing it at the zoo when you’re there with your kids.
Another friend and her son were recently treated to the lovemaking of the Hamadryas baboon, when their family visited the San Diego Zoo.
Except in this case, her son was 11, and mortified to be witnessing it, let alone with his mom in tow. He was like, “I’m outta here.”
Both these stories made me realize that, as a mother of younger kids, a trip to the zoo can be embarrassing. And then I remembered that’s exactly how I learned about the birds and the bees. My poor mom.
I was about 10 when we went to a Canadian zoo. As an animal lover, I relished in seeing all the different species. The zebras in particular were quite sweet that day. “Look, mommy!,” I said. “Those zebras are hugging!”
Midday, we walked back out to the RV to eat lunch, as we were on a road trip with my grandparents. With my grandfather chain smoking his cigarettes outside the confines of the motor home, my mother delicately explained that the zebras were indeed hugging — and a few extra things as well.
When two zebras are really in love with each other…
After lunch, we went back inside. With this new information buzzing about my brain, I gave every animal the side-eye. “So the gorillas do that?,” I asked. “And giraffes? And lions?”
She nodded her head. Even though I was kind of grossed out, in retrospect, I’m glad I was introduced to the idea via animals. Because when I later realized this act applied to humans, too, it was like:
Because that meant MY parents. YOUR parents. EVERYONE’S PARENTS.
So, yeah. Sweet Pea and I had an amazing time when we went to the zoo a few months ago. But from here on out, I’ll be on high alert — especially since Superhero is seven, and asks a lot of questions.
At least after checking out some videos, I now know what to look for when turtles are about to shag. I’ll have plenty of time to get the kids out of there, because… turtles.
Have you ever witnessed zoo animals having a little afternoon delight? If you had kids in tow, how did you handle it?