Dante is heading into a dinosaur phase. He got a dinosaur book from his school library (Cotton Creek does a weekly library trip for the kids) — I think he was actually attracted to the big googly eyes on the front. Anyway, from this book he started asking us about dinosaurs. In particular, he was fascinated with what happened to them. He’d ask me over and over: “WHAT happened to the dinosaurs?” My answer goes like this, with caps approximating the emphasized words:
“Nobody really knows for sure WHAT happened to the dinosaurs, but SOME people think that an asteroid BANGED into the earth! When that happened, a HUGE cloud of dust came up and BLOCKED the sun’s rays from reaching the earth for a long time. Without the warmth from the SUN, the dinosaurs got too COLD, and the plants they eat all went away, so they died. Then when all the dust settled, the dinosaurs were GONE.”
This is usually followed about 30 seconds later by him saying, “WHAT happened to the dinosaurs again?” with a little grin because he knows he’s saying something funny.
So from this point, we got him some more library books, including a great one called Did Triceratops Have Polka Dots? It’s like a dinosaur FAQ written for kids. We read those a few times and he started pretending to be a dinosaur more and more. (The pretending thing is totally in full swing, but that’s a story for another time.)
Then, this past weekend, Laura went on a mountain day trip to test out the new snowshoes she got for Christmas, so I had a long solo childcare day. Since Dante had been reading a lot about dinosaur bones, I decided to take him to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science so he could see some up close. We’d been to the museum before, and he’d been a little overwhelmed by the dinos, but this time he was enthralled. There’s a T-Rex fossil put together right inside the door, and as soon as he saw it he said, “I am a T-Rex!” and started stomping around.
We had a little trouble getting into the exhibit, because the opening room of it is a loudly playing movie — he definitely still has some sensory sensitivity issues, particularly with loud noise. However, with a little coaxing I got him through, and once he got to the main dinosaur room he was totally digging it. “I am a diplodocus! I am a stegosaurus! I am a maiasaura!” He kept returning to the diplodocus, I think because he was captivated by the size of it. He’d say to me, “I am a diplodocus and you are a t-rex! You are REALLY big but I am EVEN BIGGER THAN YOU!” Heh. He also kept saying, “I could not fit in a house! That is why I am going to stay at the museum when you go home!”
The room wouldn’t have accommodated the tail of the diplodocus stretching straight out behind it, so they have it arranged to curve around the room above the other dinos. He kept saying, “The diplodocus is so big I have to turn in a half-circle to see it!” Then he’d do it. I swear, we’d have stayed in that room for three hours if it’d been up to him. As it was, we probably stayed for 45 minutes, which is a really incredibly long time to spend in one room of a museum.
After I finally got him out of there, we went over to look at some astronomy displays (which were also on the loud side, so we didn’t stay long) — he’s also way into the planets right now. Finally, we stopped at the museum store and found the absolute perfect book for him, the aptly titled What Happened To The Dinosaurs?
When we got home, he kept insisting that he was a diplodocus, and saying things like, “My tail won’t fit in here! It is going all the way up the stairs!” I’d occasionally say, for instance, “Hey little dinosaur, come over here and let’s change that diaper.” He would immediately come back with, “I’m not a little dinosaur!”