My Inner Fish

Jane was away at Concordia Language Camp from Thursday morning to Sunday night,* and while I haven’t heard the whole story about her trip, I know Sunny had a blast being the Only Child and Sole Wielder of the Remote.**

Her favorite show during this time was the first part of a PBS special called “Your Inner Fish,” which is based on a book by the same name and basically shows all of the clues and evidence that modern humans evolved from fish, or at least the fish who managed to drag itself out of the water on its flippers and breed feet out of them.***

bubble-guppiesAfter the first five minutes, I said, “”Honey? Are you sure you want to watch this? Bubbleguppies is on.”

“Shhhh, Mommy,” she said, staring at her flipper arm as the man on the screen counted off the bone structure.^ “I’m sure.”

And she was. She even had me pause it for bathroom breaks and record it in case she missed something.

And when I  took a bathroom break, and asked her what I missed—half joking, because it’s surreal to have your seven-year old glued to a discussion of the search for the missing link between the First Fish and the first Not-Fish—she told me.

Gravely.  In great detail.

Being the mother of a proto-ichthyologist is a strange and wonderful experience.

A few days later, we held Sunny’s birthday party^^ at the Art Museum, which offered a kid-friendly tour of the exhibits, a fascinating film about glass-blowing, and a clay sculpting craft for Sunny and her eight guests.

Only one set of parents had stayed, and my husband was taking care of their social needs, so I plonked myself down next to Sunny and grabbed some clay, too.

One kid made a lion, several made Pokemon, one made an entire cityscape, another made a sunflower on a tall stalk, and the boy across from me made a militarized centipede who listened to the radio through his antenna (Aiden is now one of my favorite kids ever). Sunny made a Frog and his friend, Fly Guy, who has the most longsuffering expression I’ve ever seen on a bug.

Frog and Flyguy

I rolled my own clay around, trying to think of what to do, when I realized I had a sort of smooth slug in my hands. I curved his tail around and gave him eyeballs and a smile, because it would have been unfriendly not to.

Now what?

“Give him spots!” Sunny said, sticking Fly Guy on top of Frog’s head.

“Give him feet!” said Keira, who was recreating Olaf from Frozen.

“Give him fangs,” Aiden said, adding another segment to Sergeant Centipede.

A spotted fanged slug with feet? Okay.

I added another spot and examined the results. “What is this, exactly?” I asked, showing him around. “He looks kind of familiar.”

Sunny giggled. “He’s your Inner Fish, Mommy!”

“My great, great, billion-great grandfish?”

She nearly fell off her chair. “Yes!”

So, I present to you . . . my Inner Fish.  Such as he is:

Clay Guy AClay Guy B

I can see the resemblance . . .

What does YOUR inner fish look like?


*And I do mean night: the bus arrived at the school around 9:45pm, and we—meaning Jane, me, AND Sunny, because she really, REALLY wanted to meet Janie, and I am a sap when it comes to expressions of sisterly devotion—didn’t get home until 10:30. This explains, if anyone noticed, why there wasn’t a post yesterday.  The kids were fine the next morning, but I was Dead Mommy Walking.

**Unless she needed something from the DVR. Or to pause something. Or to record a show. Or to figure out which remote worked the volume. “Sole Tyrant of the Remote” might be more accurate.

***I went to work the next day and found Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin, who is a paleontologist and also a pretty good storyteller, though Sunny still opted for Calvin & Hobbes as a bedtime story.

^This may have been Dr. Shubin himself.  The bone count was fascinating—apparently, all limbs in all species who have ’em follow the same general structure  from “shoulder joint” to “digits”:  One, two, little, lots.  It happens in humans, birds, frogs, and even our cat Toby, who was bemused at the sudden attention, but game.

^She’s already had two this year, if anyone’s keeping count—one with her immediate family, and one given to her by her godmother—but this one was for her friends.  Jane’s a bit jealous, so it’s just as well she had somewhere else to be.


12 thoughts on “My Inner Fish

    • Hey, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to watch a show geared to my level once in a while.

      You have now seen the limits of my artistic talents: weird fish. 😀

    • I’m sure it was, Sue Ann—the class was probably for academics, and the show is for the rest of us. Still, it did get me to do a little more research!

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