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Honestly, Who Didn't See That Coming?

There’s a really excellent natural
science museum and wildlife refuge not far from us, and our family
membership allows us to enjoy their many miles of hiking trails
through protected wetlands, as well as their great indoors natural
science exhibits. They recently opened a limited-engagement outdoor
exhibit: nine life-size, realistic dinosaurs, complete with
animation and sound, stationed all along a hiking loop. Maddie and
Cora both enjoy dinosaur books as well as the Little Mermaid t.v.
episode where Ariel reawakens the dinosaurs from their frozen sleep
(sigh), so we decided to take in the exhibit.

Both girls chatted excitedly the whole
way, saying they couldn’t wait to see a real-sized dinosaur.
I emphasized over and over that they aren’t real, and that
their feet can’t move. It became my mantra, trying to prepare
them: “These dinosaurs are not real. They make noise and move
their arms, but cannot move their feet. They cannot bend down their
heads and eat you, nor can they chase us through the woods.
Dinosaurs are not alive any more. Yes, Danny’s dinosaur was
very friendly.” All this in response to direct questions, the
last about that painfully long Danny and the Dinosaur book.

Yes, there had been a few cautious questions (which I completely
downplayed), but somehow my idiot brain forgot with whom I was
dealing, because I was completely surprised at what happened: we
walked down the path towards the first dinosaur, a miniature t-rex
of a dinosaur called an Allasaur, standing at a mere ten feet tall.
He roared and turned his head towards us, and Cora screamed at the
top of her lungs and refused to move.

Wildly predictable, I know, but somehow I missed it.

Cora finally agreed to move on if I carried her. We walked two more
steps before Maddie flatly announced she’d had enough and
she’d like to go home now, thank you very much. We walked (or
in the case of the two girls, flew) back up the path to the top and
surveyed what we could see of the circle. Down at the bottom of the
hill was a huge pterodactyl, which Maddie stared at longingly. But
there’s no straying off the path here for fear of snakes or
poison ivy, so we’d have to go past either the Allasaur at
the beginning or the T-Rex at the end, and that clearly
wasn’t happening.

Yes, we could see the T-Rex, and I could swear he saw us.
Life-sized means life-sized, and even jaded teenagers scurried past
that thing. When it fixed its eye on you and swiveled its head as
you walked by, your fight-or-flight gene kicked into high gear and
refused to hear the words “it’s not real!”
screaming in your head.

Now, that T-Rex was a good fifty yards from us, but the girls still
trembled in fear and begged constant reassurance that his feet
could not move. They absolutely refused to explore any area within
his glinty eyesight, which put quite a damper on our outing. And
Maddie has already calmly stated her decision to not return to the
museum until the exhibit is closed, which doesn’t bode well
for an upcoming birthday party at said museum.

I know, with my timid girls, that I should have seen that coming,
and I did the comical smack on the forehead as soon as it happened.
The fallout’s not been too bad, though Cora did start crying
after lights out and wanted to know if God protected against
dinosaurs, too.

Yes, He does. And hopefully He protects you against short-sighted
mommies prone to poor planning.


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