For now, dinosaurs win.
From the previous postings, you’d think we were all CARS all the time around here. But no. In fact, the most popular characters in our imaginary play lately have been dinosaurs.
Jonah’s favorites are T-Rex and Triceratops, though we both agree Stegosaurus is pretty cool too. And since Nana and PopPop had given us a Spineosaurus a little while back, we also like that one.
While we’ve read a book about dinosaurs and trains, and we’ve looked at our encyclopedic dinosaur book from time to time over the last two years, the Cretaceous creatures had yet to truly capture Jonah’s imagination, until recently.
The dinosaur invasion was largely by accident.
We were headed up to the Lawrence Hall of Science a couple of Saturdays ago, on a playdate with a friend. Jonah had been talking a lot about the orange pin wall, and there’s lots of room to run around there, and sometimes something interesting to look at. If nothing else, a well-stocked gift shop for toy test driving.
But what we accidentally ran into was a brand-spanking-new exhibit, Dinosaurs Unearthed.
Life-sized (read GIGANTIC) roaring, blinking, gesturing, tail waggling, animatronic dinosaurs. And a dinosaur dig area where you clean bones off with brushes, a dino-nest you can play in, real dinosaur bones, reproduction skeletons…
A note to other parents of 3-year-olds wondering about visiting: On our first visit, Jonah was SCARED. REALLY SCARED. Like cowering in the corner covering his ears scared, clinging to me and climbing up me like a baby monkey scared. We spent most of that afternoon in the other parts of the museum, playing with Lego cars and Kapla blocks, visiting the animals in the petting zoo-ish room, and giving the monsters a WIDE BERTH whenever we had to walk by them.
But that night he was planning the lists of people he wanted to go back there with.
I can’t say I believed him.
And then, two days later, Jonah talked his nanny into taking him and the other share kids there. She’d had no warning from me about it, no idea it had scared him the first time. So they went. And she reported that he did fine.
The following week, he wanted her to take him there again.
(So I bought a membership. Woohoo!)
When I took him back yesterday, he informed me that for the big room full of dinosaurs (which he would not set foot in on our first visit) Shayna had carried him and covered his ears. So we employed his ear-flap hat for protection and I did the carrying and mostly he was okay with it all though he still quivered a bit.
It’s a love/terror relationship as far as I can tell.
One morning this week, Jonah made up a dinosaur story, which I then tried to write down, and then Jonah recounted the beginning of it to Scott, who drew it for him.
It went something like this (in Jonah’s own words):
There was a box of magic. Fairy magic. On the box it said, “From Tyrannosaurus Rex.” We put the fairy dust on us and it turned us into Tyrannosaurus Rex.
There was a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex in an egg. His mama said, “I gave you Pterodactyl soup from Pterodactyl and I wrote a note for him and a picture.”
And then he came back and dropped off another present. It was springy Tyrannosaurus Rex and sculptures of Tyrannosaurus Rex that we put on the front stairs.
Let’s see what else is in the present box. (Jonah digs through imaginary box.)
Oh! Some Tyrannosaurus Rex bath toys that are shaped like Tyrannosaurus Rex. And here’s some more. There are Pterodactyl ones and Triceratops ones. Those are all the bath toys.
Let me see what the box said. (He looks.) “From Triceratops.” Triceratops gave us this present. I’ll make a note for him (scribbles with fingertip in palm of other hand). I’m writin’ it… Here’s the note, I’ll give it. I’ll go talk a walk and see where Triceratops is. (Paces the floor, stops). Oh, he is in that bush (peeks down at floor). Yes, there’s two Triceratops.
I gave him the note. I writed the note to Triceratops.
“Make sure you keep the note!”
(Aside, to me) He did. (Paces, looks down.) Oh! I found two baby Triceratops eggs. I’ll give them to Triceratops. “Here, Triceratops, here’s a baby Triceratops egg.” Here’s one I found that we can keep. (Climbs onto bed and hands to me.)
“Oh, Stegosaurus, is that you?” Oh, yes, it is him. I just saw him walk by us. Maybe he lost his way home. “Hey Stegosaurus, you want to stay at our house for a while? Come on,” he gestures, “take my claw!”
(Aside, to me) He taked my claw! He’s following me, he’s got my hand.
“Stegosaurus, do you want to play with me for a while?”
(Pauses.) (“What did he say?” I ask. He considers; he announces,”Yes!”)
“I’ll take you to the playroom,” (climbs down from bed, paces floor).
Mama, the playroom is supposed to, there’s the playroom! Let me open the door and let Stegosaurus into the playroom. Want to keep an eye on us?
“Yes!” I reply.
I’ll go in and open the window. I’ll take the mommy Stegosaurus. She came onto the bed, to keep an eye on us playin’ in the playroom. There’s a lot of doors to the playroom.
“Hey Triceratops, you want to come play with us? Just take my claw if you want to.”
I’m draggin’ Triceratops over with his baby in case his baby wants to play with us. “Just take my claw, baby.”