Hephie was having trouble settling in to his new home and we thought a trip to the zoo would help.
The trauma of being left on his own, unloved, in the shop had made him sensitive. Every time grot boy or I would refer to “the teddies” or the “bears” Hephie would get upset, assuming that we weren’t including him. Despite being the only one of the bears who got to sleep cuddled right down in the bed, dragged from side to side whenever I turned over, Hephie still wasn’t sure of his place in the family.
We thought that seeing other elephants would make him feel more accepted. There was just one challenge, how to explain why the elephants at the zoo were grey while he was a blue spotty hephalump. Grot boy had an answer. “Blue spotty hephalumps are extra special,” he explained. But Hephie didn’t look convinced.
Springtime at the zoo is full of excitement. There were baby tigers annoying their mother, koalas asleep in their trees, baby gorillas clinging to their mothers’ backs and seals frolicking in their pool. AND, there was a new baby elephant.
When grot boy asked everyone on the way home, “What did you think was the best bit thing we saw today?” there were lots of highlights from which to choose.
I had no doubt. “The cute baby elephant was adorable: even though he weighed 100 kilos, he was small and cute and cuddly.”
Ccino said, “The funniest thing all day was when the elephant did a huge poo and it splashed everywhere!”
Bobby was impressed by the elephants eating. “Did you see? They picked up great mountains of stuff with their trunks and shovelled it into their mouths. I wish I could do that – but I wouldn’t want to eat all that straw and twigs.”
Dwight liked the way all the big elephants gathered around the baby, protecting him and keeping him safe. “Did you see? They wouldn’t even let the keepers get close. If he was out in the jungle, he’d be nice and safe from the lions.”
Grot boy thought the way they trained the young elephants to carry logs in their trunks, getting them to practice over and over again, was very interesting. “I wish my students were as willing to practice like the elephants – students don’t seem to understand that you don’t get to be an expert without practicing.”
Hephie had been quiet in the back seat of the car while we argued about what we loved most about the day. Worried that maybe the trip to the zoo had made him feel worse, I turned around to see if he was ok. There was a large smile on his face. I didn’t need to ask – there was no doubt that he was quiet-happy, not quiet-sad.
© teddybearlife.com, 2014