A Day with Possums

When I encounter a family with four children, two of which are under the age of 6, I expect to hear whining, crying, and demands. I expect children to be running around, arguing at high volume. I do love children, but I don't have kids of my own. Most of what I've come to expect from children is due to restaurant encounters - crying, screaming, demanding kids who decorate their immediate surroundings with the children's spaghetti special.

So meeting an intelligent, articulate and joyful child is a real treat for me.

Yesterday I met four of them.

If you haven't been introduced to the Atheist in a Minivan blog, it's time you start reading it. The author calls herself Possummomma. Due to recent Christian threats against her family, she's decided to stop naming and showing her children's photos in her blog - which is a real shame because her possums are very wonderful people.

We met at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. The Possum family was there in honor of the 4th birthday of their youngest possum, and they kindly invited us along. I jumped at the chance to meet them. I was a bit late (as usual) to the zoo, and met up with them in front of the big cat exhibit. As the possum family made their way around the zoo, we tagged along.

Possum #1, the oldest, wasn't feeling well and seemed quiet. Still her amazed response (and horror) at my allergy to fresh tomatoes made me chuckle.

Possum #2 seemed to be a ringleader of the kids, counting heads and pushing the stroller for the two younger possums. His sense of humor was wonderfully warped. The faking of getting his finger eaten by the stone Komodo dragon was inspired.

Possum #3 was shy at first, but soon regaled us with some very thoughtful commentary. She mentioned that she had a "princess piggy-bank", so I asked how she knew it was a 'princess' pig. "Because she has a tiara and a tutu, of course!" Well, of course it's obvious!

Possum #4, the youngest, was celebrating his birthday. He was the reason the possum family drove up to Fresno. I never heard a cross word from him all day. He thanked us very kindly for the birthday card.

Possumdad was there too. (I have this urge to call him 'P-daddy' which I really tried to squelch.) It was obvious that he was the one who anchored the family to their purpose. He charted out their progress as we tagged along through the zoo. I liked him immediately.

I've seen the hateful Christian comments on the Atheist in a Minivan blog, and several of them have had the tone that these wonderful kids were "too good to be true". I've got to tell you, they are true. The Possum family has "Lake Wobegon children", and it was my pleasure and honor to meet them.


Anonymous said...

I'm always glad when you have an opportunity to be around kids. You are GREAT with kids!! The vast majority of awesome moments that I had in my life up to the age of twelve involved my big dorky brother.
Including- giant origami birds, watching you on stilts, the super loud alarm on your room door to keep the brat kid sister out, watching you karate chop an orange in half, getting a reminder when Sesame Street and the Muppets were on TV, fishing, fossil hunting, riding on your handle bars, the spider pantomime that ALWAYS stopped me from crying and cheered me up, and you were my in-house jungle gym. I loved that you were smart too. It kept me challenged. You made toys out of soda bottles. You taught me chess. You overcame my "parrot" stage when you said super-cala-fredga-listic-expi-ala-docious. (Dammit!!) You sang when you did the dishes, which I still do today. (a million tomorrows may all pass away) And we had a very heated discussion when I was 4 about weather I was a sheep or a she.
Hmmm. =)
Err I forget.
Love ya, bro.

Calladus said...

Thanks brat kid sister! I love you too.

But ya know, some people don't think I'm a good influence on children. Here's a woman, named Nancy, who thinks I'm evil. From her blog she says:

People as angry as Calladus should be kept (away from children) at all costs.

Anonymous said...

Oh, sure. The religious have been hiding behind kids forever. Besides, you prolly turned me gay.

Anonymous said...

Nancy and Thomas are paranoid, religious bigots. Define "irony" - creating a blog called the "no possum zone" while accusing another person of being dangerous. Between the man who's only said kind things about my children and the morons at that blog---I'll go with the man who's been kind.

I don't know what their ultimate goal for that blog is. I noted that they claim the blog is a Bible Study Project. Yet, if that's the case, then shouldn't we expect some of the other study members to react or comment? The site has been up since, as best I can tell, two months and the only people who regularly comment are from my circle of blog-friends.

Tan, your brother is awesome!

Anonymous said...

Howdee P-Mama!!

Awesome?? Boy, does he have you snowed!! I mean, I guess he's okay...

...in a dorky, Bill Nye sort of way.

Calladus said...

Bill Nye? Ha! If only!

Anonymous said...

Hey...Grace shared treasured and priveleged info about her piggy bank. It is one of her favorite things (raindrops on roses and tutus on piggies...). He must be doing something right. ;)

Calladus said...


I've deleted your comment and moved it to the Possummomma blog entry where it is better placed.