I can’t really remember when I first liked dinosaurs. I was young, that’s for sure.
It must have started when I was three years of age. Back then, both of my parents worked at the same school, my mother teaching kindergarten and my father teaching second-grade. This was also the time when my sister started kinder there as well, so it felt like a very unfair situation to three-year-old me. Every member of my immediate family got to go to School except for me. I was sorely jealous of my sister. It was the deepest of betrayals for her to go to School without me.
(I know. Back then, I was such a fool.)
Instead of getting to go to School with my family, I was left at a babysitter’s for the day. My babysitter was a kindly older woman who had a dog and liked to do her ironing early in the morning. I was not the only kid she was looking after. Eddie came from another family with no connection to mine, but the two of us got to know each other through the power of playtime (and being toddlers).
I don’t remember much about Eddie anymore, but I do remember that he always got to pick our afternoon movie. His top two choices were Small Soldiers and, you guessed it, Jurassic Park.
While none too pleased that I had been allowed to watch a PG-13 movie at the ripe old age of three while not under their watch, my parents were more than happy to encourage my growing admiration for paleontology. My mom showed this by getting me dinosaur toys (screw dolls, am I right?) and throwing me dinosaur-themed birthdays.
(One time, during one of these dino b-day bashes, they bought a Stegosaurus piñata that we just could not break open. My dad had to pull it down and break it with a sledgehammer.
My dad bought me dinosaur flash cards and educational CD-ROM games about dinosaurs. (CD-ROMs. Remember those? In case you’re curious about what these “games” looked like, here’s a link to a YouTube video that showcases one of the games I played.)
My love for dinosaurs only grew as the years passed. I knew all the names of my favorite dinosaurs. Adults would gape in astonishment at this little tyke (aka me) rattling off names like Plesiosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, or Dimetrodon. My parents took me to Dinosaur museums, and my extended family got in on the dino craze too. My tias on my mom’s side gave me glow-in-the-dark raptor toys, and my Uncle Dwight, on my dad’s side, gave me a Dinosaur Encyclopedia for a Christmas gift.
I even roped my sister into playing dinosaur games with me. We loved to pretend to be Iguanodons on the run from a Tyrannosaurus Rex. One time, in order to simulate being eaten by this carnivore, my sister and I decided to throw ourselves onto my mom’s recliner, imagining it was the giant mouth of a T. Rex. Unfortunately for us, the momentum of our leap into the jaws of death flipped the recliner over onto the backyard’s sliding glass door.
Anyways, as you can tell by now, I’m really into dinosaurs.
As time has gone by, while I don’t play with dinosaur toys anymore, I still have an abiding love for them and I gather what tidbits of information is available about them. If I could, I would go back in time just to catch a glimpse of these creatures in the flesh. Sure I’d have to adjust to the low oxygen levels that accompanied that time period, and sure I’d probably get eaten by a dinosaur myself before acclimating my lungs to said breathing conditions, but it would be glorious and oh so totally worth it.
Any dinosaur fans out there besides me? I’d be happy to hear