Tuesday, August 01, 2006


When Celeste was born, I was still a volunteer behavior watcher with the pandas at the National Zoo. Therefore, it is no surprise that she has a few panda-related items in her bedroom, including a fantastic panda quilt that a coworker of Evelin's made for her and a cuddly panda stuffed bear.

Among the information Celeste has picked up over her years (okay, 23 months) is that panda bears eat bamboo. Maybe she got it from one of her books or from a trip to the zoo or from me just rambling about something* in any case, a popular story request from Celeste these days is: "Daddy tell Celeste story 'bout panda-bear-eat-bamboo-that-guy" (pointing at the stuffed panda or, rarely, the quilt).

Yesterday, I decided we were going to have a stir-fry for dinner, so I ran to one of the Chinese groceries near my office and picked up noodles, snowpeas, bok choi, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and a can of bamboo shoots. I thought about getting some fresh bamboo, but the packages they had were a lot more than I thought I'd use and, to tell the truth, I'm not really sure how to tell if it's good bamboo or not. That night, while I was prepping dinner, I told Celeste we were having bamboo as part of our dinner and at first she was a little put off. But then I started talking about panda-bear-eat-bamboo-that-guy and she started to giggle at the idea. Turns out the bok choi was a little bitter for her and the carrots were too firm for her, but she loved the bamboo ...

Quinn, of course, didn't get any of the bamboo directly, but on Sunday I did manage to record a good 45 seconds or so of her giggling like crazy while Evelin tickled her. Here's the MP3.

*It could also be from my clever reworking of They Might Be Giants's song "The Vowel Family:"
Bears are important mammals. There's a bear in every woods.
Bears are important mammals. There's a bear in every woods.
Panda bears eat bamboo. Polar bears will eat you!
Bears are important mammals. There's a bear in every woods.
Bears are important mammals. There's a bear in every woods.
Black bears are hairy. Grizzly bears are scary!
I never came up with good verses to cover sun bears or sloth bears, however ...

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enjanerd said...

What did you have to do to be a volunteer behavior watcher? That's so cool! I'm keeping that in mind for my next thing after I finish my current volunteer gig.

T. Carter said...

I just managed to be at the right place at the right time, I think. I contacted FONZ about volunteering a month or two before Mei Xiang and Tian Tian arrived and the panda watch was the project that needed bodies at the time. I went in not knowing if I really wanted to be on the panda project, but it was really cool.

The thing to do is to watch the FONZ/NZP volunteer recruiting page and see what they're looking for.

You could also contact them directly and ask specifically about a specific behavior watch. I know they have people fall out of the programs periodically ... like I ended up doing.

suz said...

Don't you just LOVE TMBG!?! Garner especially likes Clap Your Hands! You should see his little head bobbing to the music.

T. Carter said...

Hey Suz! I saw them at Tipitina's (the old Tip's, before they cleaned it all up) back in 1989 or 1990 ... I can't remember if it was before Flood came out or not. Great live show.

For more TMBG, check out The Complete Idiot Guide to TMBG over at Jefitoblog (complete with MP3s for a limited time only ...)

patrick said...

Sun bears live in the tropics, sloth bears are a bit myopic?

T. Carter said...

That's not bad ... I kept trying to work around something like: Sloth bears like to eat ants; sun bears don't wear pants ...