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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What Bow Wants

How can any of us know what Bow wants? Well, we can't, any more than we can know what any other person really wants. We can ask, of course, but will they tell us the truth? For that matter, do they themselves know?

Bow has said many a contradictory thing on this topic. When I first placed him in the pens, and he began to spell, he asked to be allowed out. Where did he want to go? To the kitchen. In fact, he made up all sorts of stories, in order to induce me to let him out, so he could go to the kitchen. He told me there was a fire in the kitchen. He told me there was a mouse in the kitchen. He said he wanted me to let him out so he could go catch the mouse. But the truth is, he just missed eating in the kitchen. We'd had a lot of good times in the kitchen over the years, and he missed that.

He also told me in an unguarded, poignant moment, that all he needed was me. That I should never leave him.

Just because he said it, do I believe that? Of course not. Everybody needs more than one person in their life. Little boys grow up, and the older they are, the less they need their mother. That's normal and healthy. I am not trying to emasculate him or to deny him an independent life, when the time comes. Of course, he will need a mate. Of course, he can't be expected to cling to his mother's back forever.

He once told me: "Mommy, get me somebody nice." He doesn't want a female who is bigger than him who is going to beat him up! He has a crush on Panbanisha, Kanzi's sister, a bonobo he saw in a video. But that was a really old video, and I don't think he realizes how old she is now. Every once in a while, he also develops a crush on one of our volunteers.

There are times when Bow is angry, and then he says things like: "I don't love you anymore." It doesn't happen often, and it doesn't last long. But it happens.

One day, he told me: "I am going to Africa." (That was about a year ago.)

"You're leaving me?" I asked.


"And you're going to Africa?"


"Why? Why are you going to Africa?"

"Because," he spelled out,"you didn't give me chocolate."


  1. I still remember the sweet time when I was cooking and Bow was watching me cooking in your kitchen.

  2. June, yes, those were good times for all of us!

  3. Not having chocolate is a serious problem! I would go to Africa, too!

  4. Suzanne, it's true. Not having chocolate is a serious problem. However, eating too much chocolate can be an even more serious problem!

    I had to explain to Bow that Africa is not a good place to go, if you're looking for chocolate...