Since my daughter was three years old, we have had a summer project of growing something. Our first attempt was to study the life cycle of the ladybug. Most of the pink ladybugs survived to adulthood and were released into the wilds of our backyard. The second attempt was Sea Monkeys and no they are not as cute as the advertisements had shown them to be in the back of the old time comic books. I successfully germinated two colonies which thrived until I tried to clean their habitat. Upon reentry the little Sea Monkeys seemed happy and slowly each and every one of them went belly up. A tragedy indeed! This year we went for something more hearty, a Betta fish.
We met Fred in the pet section at Walmart. All Betta fish appear to be a Fred to me, as all toads are a Henry. A red and plumy Fred perked up when we saw him. We left him to pick up a fish bowl and returned. He charmed us both and became the newest member of our menagerie of pets.
Fred spends most of his time in the dining room on the side buffet table. Every once in a while my daughter will allow Fred to have a field trip to my office for a week. He of course rides shotgun in the car. Upon arrival it is as if Elvis has entered the building. My colleagues all get a kick out of Fred. His favorite activity is lounging on leaves while munching on freeze dried blood worms in the Don Ho Tiny Bubble Theater on my desk. He is a music aficionado and enjoys artists like Michael Bublé and Sammy Davis, Jr. To my dismay, he is not an ABBA fan.
Now that my daughter is starting to be more geographically aware and is a self proclaimed “big girl” ready to start Kindergarten, I was trying to come up with some simple lessons. The inspiration for the lesson was staring back at me from the fish bowl prancing for more worms. However, it went beyond Fred to include our pride of cats at home as well.
I got out the trusty light up globe and started our geography lesson. Fred’s ancestors are from the rice paddies of Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos). And yes, it is quite possible that they lived near a princess! Our Senior Cat is a Russian Blue who plays a good game of hide and go seek and is our only cat that is not lactose intolerant. The Russian Blues, known for their elegance and smoky silver tipped coats are believed to have originated in the port of Arkhangelsk, Russia. One of our cats that is now working on a horse farm is a Chartreux, a breed that was brought back from Syria by French Crusaders. Lastly, our Junior Cat is an American Blue Tabby whose ancestors originated somewhere in Europe. However, due to his propensity to levitate for marinara sauce, I will attribute his origins to Italy!
Geography is everywhere. Our next lesson will be at the produce section at the super market with all of the exotic fruits and vegetables. Ideally, it will be a trip on its own, rather than a rushed one where the ice cream is melting in the buggy.