I grew up in the era of “House Party,” the television show hosted by the late and brilliant, Art Linkletter. Art came across to me as a young child as a rather grandfatherly figure. Even as a child he held my attention, and I especially enjoyed the segment he would always do with kids. It eventually became known as, “Kids Say The Darndest Things.”
In that segment, which later would become its own show, Art had an uncanny ability to interview children and ask them quite innocent questions, and unexpectedly unleash their amazing wit, honest straightforwardness, and even their unexpected outspokenness.
When children are raised in a nurturing environment, their interactions with life and people can often surprise the adults who raised them and those adults that know them. No matter who the panel of children would be that were interviewed by Art, there were consistent surprises, week after week, from every show. The responses of the kids to Art’s questions would often leave him dumbfounded and the audience reeling in uproarious laughter.
In this season of my life, I am taken up quite a bit with three young ones that are my grandchildren. Time does fly, and life speeds on, and the kid that used to watch a grandfather figure and enjoy his interaction with kids my age is now interacting the same way with his “grands.”
My littlest granddaughter is a tad over two years old. She is quite surprising in her communication skills, and her parents are doing a great job at grounding her on sturdy footing for her learning and development. Her higher cognitive function began to show up earlier than two years, much to my surprise, because of the things she would say and the connections she would make between what her little mind represents to her in her imagination and what she sees in the external world. One such example is quite memorable and my granddaughter and I relive it often in our chats with each other and my iPhone photos.
One of our frequent haunts as a family is Disney World, since we live in Orlando. The kid in all of us never grows tired of going on magical adventures in Mickey’s Kingdom.
This past Spring, we decided to take a day and go to Animal Kingdom. It was my littlest granddaughters first time there. Her eyes were opened wide with every exhibit she experienced. However, one exhibit had a greater impact on her than any other. I would have thought the Safari Ride where she got to see giraffes, hippopotami, crocodiles, lions, boars, antelope, zebra and the rest would have been exhilarating. She did enjoy the ride, however her greatest thrill was the exhibit of the gorillas and in particular the silverbacks. These majestic creatures that normally inhabit the forests of Central Africa are right there in our backyard, and she watched the interactions between the younger and older silverbacks with rapt attention.
At one point, one of the older silverbacks asserted his authority and cleared the area of any who who contested it and sat in a classic pose. Immediately, my granddaughter pointed at him, and then called to me and said, “Grandpa, how come big monkey in time out?” I had to take a shot of the ape as a keepsake of my granddaughter’s astute observation and interpretation of the event. She knows exactly where to find it on my iPhone.
The picture says it all. I still cannot stop laughing every time I think about it. It is aptly labeled “Monkey In Time Out” in my iPhoto app.