Whoa! Fwee!

Nanita and MarqueƱo are in town, and Robin couldn’t be more thrilled. It breaks my heart a little bit every time we’re able to visit any of the grandparents, to see how strongly and eagerly Robin responds to their presence and attention: he’s a lucky little boy to have three sets of adoring grandparents, all of whom he loves to the very limits of his little heart: but as I’ve written before, it’s one of my enduring regrets that we haven’t been able to settle closer to any of our far-flung extended family. Robin gets very upset every time we say goodnight to my mom and Mark, obviously because he knows very well that the day will come when they say good-bye and don’t come back again for months.

Anyway, despite my apparent ability to inject mom-guilt into even the nicest of situations, Robin has been having a wonderful time. Yesterday we all (all except for Sam, who has this thing called “work” that sounds like a real bummer, man) went to the California Academy of Sciences for the day. I took my camera and then forgot to take any pictures at all, except for this one of Robin walking along sweetly hand-in-hand with Mark:

For the Buffy fans, I think of this outfit as Robin’s Riley Finn costume.

Anyway, we’ve been to the Academy of Sciences before, but Robin was too young to take much in then. He didn’t respond very strongly to many of the exhibits. This time—was different.

We walk in the door and Robin (after initially getting a bit scared of the big T-Rex mold by the entrance) spots a fish tank. “Fwee!” he cries happily (fwee means fishie), and runs up to get a better look. “Oh, kiddo,” we tell him, “this is nothing, let’s go show you the aquarium.”

We made very slow progress, as to get to the downstairs aquarium you pass by several tide pools and swamp-habitats with fish in them, and each time Robin wanted to stop and gaze at them for apparently indefinite lengths of time. It struck me, as we cajoled and dragged him forward, as pretty funny that his attention span was apparently so much longer than ours. Anyway, eventually, we got downstairs to the “Water Planet” exhibits.

“Fwee! Fwee!”

There were a lot of fishies. So many glass tanks for Robin to run up and press his nose against. So many fishes to be counted and catalogued (“yewwow [yellow] fwee!”). Again, we had to chivvy him along, because we knew what was waiting:

The Philippine Coral Reef. This is a sunken auditorium with a floor-to-ceiling glass wall holding back 212,000 gallons of water and literally thousands of tropical fish.

Robin took this in and rendered his verdict: “Whoa.”

He said that again and again over the next twenty minutes: “Fwee! Whoa!” It was pretty hilarious, because he so badly wanted to talk about the fishies, but his vocabulary is so limited that he was basically just exclaiming the same few words over and over and over again. “Whoa! Fwee! Fwee, Nana!” (Fishies, Nanita!)

He would have stayed there for hours. It’s possible that he would still be there if he had his way. I thought, of course, of Robin’s uncle Jesse the marine biologist—he sent Robin a pop-up book of ocean life, which has apparently taken deep root in the kid’s little brain.

Eventually we dragged him off to see the penguins, and those were a delight as well: Robin loved running back and forth as the penguins swam by, trying to give them kisses through the glass. It was very cute.

Today he’s wearing his penguin shirt that his Pappy and Nonna bought him the last time we went to the Academy of Sciences. He doesn’t have a word for penguin but he did point to the picture and smile. We’ll definitely have to go back soon.


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