Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Our Obsession with Pandas

I think I can safely say that my wife and I are obsessed with pandas. It was actually an obsession she learned from me years ago. When we started dating, I'd buy her little stuffed pandas and birthday cards with pandas. Pretty much, pandas all around.

Nakko has always loved cute, round, chubby animals anyway (that's why she married me!), so it was natural she'd take a liking to the pandas I brought into her life. For me, I've been a fan since I was an infant. My first stuffed animal was a panda named Radar.

Anyway, two years ago, panda fever gripped the whole country when baby Tai Shan was born at the National Zoo, which is about 45 minutes from us. For months after Tai was born, Nakko and I would spend hours on end watching the Zoo's panda cam. I can’t even begin to count the number of hours of productivity that were lost between the two of us in the summer of ’05. I think it was at that time we decided we could be parents. Watching Mei Xiang -- the panda mama -- cuddling and nursing that tiny, hairless baby, I guess we figured "how hard could it be?"

On a serious note, we thought it was a nice bit of kismet when we learned my wife's due date would be July 9, 2007 -- which would be Tai Shan's second birthday. Learning that cosmic coincidence was a little bittersweet, though, when we realized Tai was set to be returned to China on his second birthday. What to do?! Kiki will never be able to meet her spiritual “brother from another (species’) mother!”

Well, fortunately, the National Zoo and the Chinese government are negotiating an agreement to let Tai Shan stay a little longer. He’s guaranteed to stay until at least the fall, which is good news for us because we can bring Kiki to the zoo when she’s a few months old. We only hope she’ll be able to remember the trip.

1 comment:

kim said...

We've made many a visit to that Panda Cam as well! Since we're just a quick 30 minute drive into DC (non rush hour, of course), we've been lucky enough to see Tai Shan several times - he's become quite the clown in his adolescent years!