Margo and a dolphin
Decades later, we take almost ten-month-old Margo to the aquarium not expecting much notice or interaction, but, Margo is an intense observer. At her young age, her mind is in a constant state of processing information, stimuli, and people. It has been suggested that children her age take in and process so much information that they are operating at the level of a genius.
I happened to win the Margo-carrying lottery just as we entered the beluga whales' pool area. She was attentive to every movement as she followed their graceful tumbling in and out of the water. As a beluga slid past, upside down, she had to wonder about its strange body, distinct musculature, and best-friend face. Because I had expected her interest to wane, I was as enchanted with her as I was with the belugas.
We moved on to the dolphins where she showed the same focus. Leaning up against the penguin aquarium, she patiently waited for penguins to paddle past. When we reached the otters, she sensed their playfulness, held on to the bar and flapped her own arms and legs. As we moved to the small fish aquariums, she still pointed, still grunted, and she was snatched away by one of her aunts. I was so lucky to have shared her first experience with ocean animals. Once separated from her, I ended up exploring on my own--because I was newly enthralled and took too much time observing. Margo's intense interest, had inspired mine. The propellers on the Mandarin Dragnet fish were mesmerizing; the design on the tassels file fish was James Christiansen art. I saw where Dr. Seuss got his inspiration, I found pleasure in turtle noses and a sea horse shaped like a stick.