I don't know how it came up exactly. We were reading The Wizard of Oz, and then we were talking about George Washington Carver, and then I was leaned in, telling them about this magnificent creature, this faithful friend, the first pet you ever own.
You were born with it, I tell them, but you have to feed it & care for it, or it will fall asleep, and it sleeps a deep sleep of hibernation. These creatures are very hard to awaken.
It's your curiosity pet, I told them, & you can see it ALIVE & THRIVING in little ones. We glance over at the baby, almost walking, who looks up at us with banana on his face, grinning. Not banana-that-I've-given-him, but banana-that-he's-found-&-filched-from-the-fruit-bowl. Banana, peel, & all. Banana-that-he's-chewed-through.
Ok, so maybe it's not as much Curiosity as it is Hungry, but it's at least a little bit curiosity. Because when he dumped the trash out yesterday, he didn't just eat it in that moment before I could dash between him & the coffee grounds—he patted it, threw it, put his head in it, & came up with a smile that looked like a 5 o'clock shadow. So there is some curiosity there.
Then I told them what this wonderful round little ball—the curiosity pet, not their brother—eats stories, books, nature. He likes to look & read & see & try.
Learning! they said.
Sure, I agreed, but...what if you didn't have good teachers? Or a good school? What if you didn't have the bright blocks & the great curriculum? What if you were a slave?
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CARE & FEEDING OF YOUR PET?
Us, they said, surprised at their own answer.