Little Elephant has started to develop fear. My fearless wonder in starting to worry about dangers in the world around her and be startled by things unexplained– particularly loud noises. Luckily, she does seem to be a child of reason (within limits of course).
The Tirana International School has a very unusual after-school activity: a donkey and a goat. Literally. Kids can sign up to care for the animals and they are considered the school’s pets. Honestly, it is a ingenious idea. Kids learn responsibility and about nature plus so much fun! The donkey is Don-key Jote (get it???) and the goat is Vincent Van-Goat! Hardee har har!
We went to visit them for the first time a few months ago. We brought carrots as we understand that was the treat of choice and we stood around waiting for our friends to show up. Bad choice. The Don-key Jote could smell the carrots. He started baying at us very loudly. Little Elephant was terrified. There were tears and declarations of “it scary” and promises that she never wanted to go back. Once her friends showed up, braveness returned– but she still wouldn’t let me put her down. Despite really liking watching the feeding and seeing the animals, the memory of the sound was upsetting.
Turns out, explaining sounds helps with lots of things. We now know why dogs bark– and they are less scary. We know why the cow moos — and it is less scary. We even know why thunder makes those loud sounds– and it is less scary. (In case you were wonder, thunder is the clouds apologizing to one another when they accidentally run into each other).
Little Elephant has even been sighted explaining to our dog why she shouldn’t be afraid of the vacuum cleaner!