Posted by: ilanasmith | January 21, 2006

What Noise Does a Shark Make?

I have theory that my sister had kids for her own personal amusement.  I suspected it when she took the first possible opportunity (i.e. the first time my brother-in-law left the house) to dress up her new-born baby boy in all the girl’s clothes she’d been given…and took photos.  I had it confirmed when I learned that my nephew Riley had a toy snake that his parents had helped him name: Trouser.
 
Alex and I headed home for a few weeks over Christmas.  The whole fam gathered at Mum’s place for a Chrimbo blow-out (there were 25 of us at one point).  One of the best parts was getting to spend a week with the nephews – at 18 months and 4 years, they’re a bunch of fun.  Riley’s a big chatterbox with an uncanny ability to put together all sorts of disparate information.   Finn’s enormous eyes haven’t gotten any smaller, and he wanders around with his hands clasped in the small of his back, peering at things.  He knows all sorts of words, but the little bugger categorically refuses to say my name.  Of course, he said "Alex". 
 
In addition to being the cutest kids ever born, they’re also possibly the smartest kids ever – Riley taught himself to write his own and his brother’s names, and Finn has decided to toilet train himself.  Finn plays the "what noise does a <variable> make?" game – he does a mean owl (and not a boring television Hoo-Hoo owl, but a really good, honestly Australian Ooo-Hoo owl).  They’re obviously the children of two zoologists (I’m pretty sure they can identify more Australian fauna than I can) but my sister’s sense of humour does intrude at times: if you’re wondering what noise a shark makes, it’s the cello chords from "Jaws".
 
After Christmas in Mackay (and a brief mum-visiting trip for Alex), we spent a week in Brissie with Choppy.  After New Year, we all headed up to Mooloolaba, and did two dives on the newly-sunk-for-diving-purposes HMAS Brisbane.  It was very very cool (though the visibility sucked a bit), especially pushing all the buttons in missile control.  It turns out that the Brisbane was Dad’s last ship, so I got to swim around where he would have hung out (at least I think so: phrases like "aft turret" mean "big gun at the back", right?).
 
Not quite dived out, we then did the coolest.  thing.  ever.  We went for a dip in the Shark Tank at Underwater World.  I thought it would be scary, but it was so professional and straight-forward that even when a 12 foot shark swam right past me, my brain didn’t scream incoherantly in panic, it went "SO COOL.  Gee, I wish I could poke it. SO COOL!!!".
 
It was lovely to spend some time at home and see the fam, and stuff.  But seriously.  SHARKS!
 

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