River Safari with the Hs


[humongous puffer fish]

Technically, two Hs and one I don’t know what: Luke is an incredibly precocious 3-year old boy. He’s got blonde hair and blue eyes, and a great handle of symbols and situations.

The oldest H (henceforth titled H1) was my first math professor at CU, and he was funny and nice and always picked on me to answer questions in class particularly when I was daydreaming. If I ever teach I will never pick on students to answer questions.

This post is not about him, however :P This post is to document all the hilarious things Luke said and did. He looks just like his grandpa for one, with the same kind of teeth (and an “ah pek” look, according to Justine lol)


[Perhaps it’s the sandals. They are the same style as H1’s sandals]

Luke was very good at articulating everything he thought. I didn’t know one could be that articulate at 3 years old. His mother (H2) speaks to him like an adult, which I think helps tremendously.

When he saw the “no entry” sign (the red circle with a white bar, with some text below) pasted on a bamboo gate, he asked “why does it say ‘Do Not Enter?'” even though the words below were actually “No Access”. That was the first time I realized he couldn’t read. He’s so incredibly garrulous I automatically assumed he was literate.

He recognizes letters and knows his phonics, like the basic sounds of each phoneme like in the word “food” but he has a little trouble piecing it together.

There were these spinning blocks next to the Panda exhibit with pictures of pandas on them and also descriptions of pandas. H2 read one of the descriptions out, trying to get Luke to pronounce “food” by giving contextual clues to the word (Luke is very good at picking up context).

H2: “What do pandas eat, Luke? Fff-ooo”
Luke: [with great certainty] “Rocks.” (Well, his mum IS a geology professor)
(based on observation of the rocks in the enclosure :P)

He’s adorable and I love him.


We also discovered that the total amount of bamboo one panda eats in a day weighs about 4/3 Lukes. Good Lord.

He also automatically ran to the height chart to measure his own height for the boat ride in the River Safari. For reference, he’s not nearly tall enough. But he really liked the camera, and spent a lot of time hopping between the ropes, all the while glued to my lens :P

Everytime he saw a street vendor, a vending machine, or in fact, just about anything that requires the exchange of money, he would run forward, dragging H2 there, all the while persuading her to part with her money to buy him something.

(At a vending machine selling bottled 7-up and coke and Dasani water)
Luke: “Mom! I need a soda!”
H2: “No you don’t need a soda, you want a soda, but why would you need a soda when we’ve got water right here?”
Luke: [pointing to vending machine]”There’s water here too!”
H2: “Yes, but we brought our own water in this cool dinosaur bottle, look! It’s got water from when the dinosaurs were alive. Don’t you want to drink the water from the time of the dinosaurs?”

They were hilarious together.

(At the cart selling fishballs and slushies and ice creams and things:)
Luke: [dragging H2 over] “Look! Ice cream!”
H2: “We brought our own snacks, sweetie. Remember? Why do we need to buy other snacks? Those are fish balls, and you don’t want those.”

The fish balls were $3 for a stick of 3, which is daylight robbery.

(At the machines that kids can get into, pop some money in, and the miniature car or ship or whatever will start moving and playing music:)
Luke drags his mum over.
Luke: “Can I go on the ride?”
H2: “It’s $2, Luke. We don’t have $2 for these rides.”
Luke: [running up to Z and me, holding out his cap]: Do you… do you have 2 cents?

Money denominations don’t mean very much to him right now.

Perhaps he has potential for a travelling salesman career.

He also likes crawling on the floor and sitting down.


[I think its great that parents are not so concerned about the germs on the floor]

At the humongous aquarium in the River Safari with the manatees, he was obsessed with keeping his balance while walking on the low metal pole running along the edge of the aquarium, and completely ignored the huge manatees gliding in the waters right beside him. H1 said, “What can I say? Kids’ priorities are just not your priorities.”


[Gourmet Monkey sniffing a piece of lettuce to test for freshness]
The entire time we were in the squirrel monkey exhibit H1 was trying to convince H2 to keep a cute little monkey in her apartment for him to visit when he comes to Singapore.
H1: “Don’t you want a monkey in your apartment? You must want a monkey. Look! How can anybody not want a furry little friend in your apartment?”
H2: -rolls eyes-
H1: “How about one of those red pandas? I thought they were pretty cute.”

H1 also told us about the time he spotted a manatee while swimming off the coast of Puerto Rico, at an unofficial beach. He said it was the first manatee people had spotted there in 50 years, and the inscription near the tank in the River Safari also said manatees love warm water! Also, that 2/3 of the volume of their bodies are all lung (where I thought it was fat).


Here he is showing off his re-entry stamp. He’s so affectionate and precocious, once he just ran up to Z and held his hand so Z could bring him around. It’s nice that he trusts all the adults in his travelling group. When his mum asked him to count the number of people in the party, he went
“one, ” (pointing to himself)
“two, ” (pointing to me)
“three, ” (pointing to Z)
“four! ” (pointing to H1)
H2: “Don’t you think you’re missing out somebody here?”

lol. And then he counted again, and got 6. haha. The thanklessness of motherhood.


When we saw the alligators (actually gharials?) in the Ganges river exhibit, H1 told us about the time (maybe in the last year) where he swam with some caimans and piranhas in Brazil (near Sao Paolo). I guess they must be harmless (the exhibit says that despite their vicious reputation, piranhas usually forage for already dead animals) but H1 said that when he was in Brazil, at the same time that he got into the water, a 3-meter long caiman glided into the water as well. “It really makes you think.”

For most of my other professors I worry about their diet, about how much pizza they eat or how much cherry coke they are drinking, if they’ll get diabetes, or a heart attack. H1 is a whole other character altogether. You worry about him being eaten alive by crocodiles. He certainly doesn’t strike one as a Steve Irwin-type person, but on occasion you can tell he likes dabbling with the dangerous.

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