cruncher the tortoise

A beautiful February day, filled with frosty air and sunshine.  And whipping, icy winds, but still…

The Littlest is my green smoothie enthusiast in the house.  Little Boy figured out a while back that some smoothies come out tasting better than others, and I think the lack of predictability, combined with some pretty funky combinations, make him a little more reticent to chug the whole glass on the first gulp.  But, for both of the boys, green smoothies has been a simple way for them to get some greens into their diet.  Today, the Littlest discovered the whirling tornado that creates them.

And today, continuing on my determination to get outside and remind my muscles that they exist, we loaded up in the bike trailer and went to the Nature Center about a mile away.  I could write a small pamphlet on why I love the Nature Center so much: the deep and dimly lit caves that excite the children, how despite the inevitable mess one employee continues to put out a giant sand table filled with sand and footprint casts….and lets us bring diggers and elephants in to roam the sandy dunes….hmmm…just realizing Mr. Elephant was left in the sand dunes today…but I digress.  The reason why Mr. Elephant was forgotten in the sandbox was because one of the other great things about the Nature Center is that there is a gigantic African Spurred Tortoise that we sometimes get the fun experience of playing with, and even feeding.

Technically named Chomper, Little Boy remembers him as Cruncher, and so he is.  The Littlest finally accepted that Cruncher wasn’t sturdy enough to ride, and chose instead to give him snuggles.

Cruncher did manage to wedge himself under the stroller’s front wheel and bar, which was humorous as it looked like he was hitching himself up to pull the chariot.

And when the Romaine was busted out, he knew exactly where he wanted to be.

Listening to this big tortoise crunch lettuce leaves in half, it was quite obvious how he got his name.

I am so grateful for the publicly accessible places that enable kids to have an interactive and fun experience without all the accompanying work of caring for your own turtles, frogs, fish, snakes, or tarantulas.  Seeing and touching these guys too is so vastly different and more engaging in real life, and the interactions spur imagination, conversation, and storytelling while giving the boys a point of reference for how a real turtle is it’s own unique pooping and peeing being, just like them.  This is a good point of reference for little people learning to separate real and pretend, alive and capable of being hurt, and toy, plastic, or inanimate.  Good stuff.

Little Boy announced he wanted to eat salad for dinner too, just like Cruncher.  Well, twist my arm!

Thank you Nature Center!


6 responses to “cruncher the tortoise

  1. LOL! Bee, I so admire your delightful sense of humor! Lucky boys, they are indeed! Thank you for being such an engaging, adventuresome, loving mom!

  2. I’ve never seen a turtle that big, up close and personal! When I watched the video of Chomper-Cruncher eating the greens, it was wonderful. I also loved how you mentioned that there is real and pretend. Real animals are thinking, feeling beings. Loved the tornado shot, too!! Rock on, Ginger-Doll.

  3. I now want a turtle.

  4. This is great stuff! 🙂

    When I was about 11 years old I was selected to be a junior volunteer at The Discovery Center in Sacramento, CA. I got to work first-hand with reptiles, skunks(!), porcupines, spiders, etc. What I got a big kick out of was watching the very young discovering just simple things such as chickens do really lay eggs. I have been pleased to see that this amazing place has evolved from a simple animal rescue/homemade science projects exhibits to a bona fida really cool place to learn and interact with literally from the earth to the moon. I ended up volunteering there for 4 years until my Mom and I moved to SoCal. When this happened, I was absolutely crushed that the closest place I could work with animals (as I was under 18 and all of those silly laws)was way over in Monterey, which was over 200 miles away!!

    Thank you Ginger for today’s field trip experience!!! 🙂

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