Yesterday’s Mystery Post, Take Two

Sorry it’s so dark. But it IS a cave. Mbot is modeling the giant bat ears that demonstrate how well bats can hear. So here he is hearing the story of the unlucky sloth, told over and over again, really really loudly.

For those of you who read yesterday’s cryptic post before I discovered that most of it was missing, I apologize. Now, in today’s few bot-free minutes, I will try to recreate it:

11,000 years ago, a sloth fell through a crack. It fell into a cave. It couldn’t get out. It died in the cave.

The kind docent in the Shasta Ground Sloth cave at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum told us this story on Sunday when we were admiring the fossilized skeleton and the ancient sloth poop that I managed to not delete in yesterday’s post.

The bots listened with great concern and then baraged the docent with questions. “Why did he fall through the crack?” (I was going to answer, ‘because it didn’t come when it’s mother called it’ but she beat me with ‘Sloths don’t have very big brains.’) “Why could he not get out?” (There was no door.) “Why did he die?” (Because he couldn’t get out of the cave.) While Mbot tried on a giant pair of bat ears which magnified all the cave sounds, Gbot stood rooted in place beside the docent, craning his neck upward to look at her and repeating the questions. Perhaps hoping for different, better answers. But the answers didn’t change.

On the way home, he retold the story many times.

Gbot: “The three-tailed ground sloth fell through the crack. He fell into the cave. He couldn’t get out and” (voice lowering sadly) “he died in the cave.”

Over the next few days, the story was told over and over again. To Daddy, to Aunt Susan, to Grandma, to Nanny over the phone, to Miss Mary the music teacher. It was obviously sad and disturbing. How was I to know it was going to turn into a story of rescue and redemption?

On Wednesday, from the backseat, Gbot told the story again. “But Mama,” he said, “we could use Bob the Builder’s tools!”

“You’re right!” I exclaimed. “A jackhammer can cut through concrete and rock.”

Gbot: “Yeah, and we could make a door and he would say, ‘What a wonderful door you made, Mama and Gbot,’ and he would go through the door in the cave and he would go home to his mommy. And we would go home and talk about how the sloth fell into the cave and got out the door. And the sloth would say, ‘Thank you for making my door in the cave.'”

I praised his creative solution to the sloth’s big problem. Now, perhaps, we could stop hearing about the sloth in the cave. Although it was awfully cute.

But of course, as all answers do, this one led to another question. After a brief pause from the back seat, Gbot asked, concern edging his voice again,

“What if we were sloths, Mama?”

“We would be careful sloths, Spice Bear,” I said. “And we would always carry jackhammers, just in case.”

More about the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum later this week. There were many moments to savor. Today’s recommendation, which would have been yesterday’s recommendation if my post hadn’t fallen through a crack, is: Go there!


How to Get A Quiet Morning To Yourself a Week Before Mother’s Day

1. Drive up to the mountains for a two-day family getaway.

2. Spend a fabulous day at the creek, catching bugs and collecting rocks.

3. Drive fifty yards up the road to the Junipine Restaurant and, knowing better at a place that looks like it does a brisk business only in chicken strips and beer, order the smoked trout.


4. Spend the night in the bathroom of the hotel as Your Body Battles a Stomachache. (Mbot’s very favorite book of all time.)

If you take these four simple steps, you will find that your husband may whisk the weebots into the car and off on an adventure the next morning, leaving you curled up in bed like a creek bug under a rock, because you are unable to walk; you can only feebly nurse a glass of ginger-ale because your stomach feels like it lost the battle.

Of course, that afternoon, when you can barely sit upright to drive the two hours back home, you may have to field questions from the back seat. Mbot might be asking, “What does salmonella look like, Mom? Why did it attack your body? Why did you eat it?”

But when you say, through nearly-closed lips, because it seems to increase the residual nausea even to open your mouth, “Let’s just all have a quiet time. One thing about a stomachache, Moon Pie, is that it hurts your voice sometimes too, so that it doesn’t feel good to talk,” there may be a short silence and then he may answer,

“But Mom, I think your voice sounds magnificent.”

Which will not quite redeem the tainted trout, but I think it’s as close as it gets.