I was just discussing lizards with Thomas. Anna was reading a book about lizards, you see!
It reminded me of a traumatic experience from my childhood I thought I had already told him.
When I was 5 my school took me on a school trip to Calderpark zoo, Glasgow's zoo that closed down about 5 years ago. When I was 5 there were only 3 TV channels, no Discovery Channel. And our TV had been black and white most of my life. So I wasn't as clued up as today's kids - I knew cats, dogs, cows, horses, elephants and tigers but I wasn't au fait with chameleons, iguanas and the likes.
It was a rainy Glasgow day and most animals were hiding in their shelters. They took us into a building marked Reptile House. I didn't know what reptiles were and no one explained it to us. I was a sweet wee girlie girl. I skipped in excitedly hoping to see cute little fuzzy animals like tiger cubs or polar bear cubs only to come face to face with a large iguana. I jumped back in horror. What had happened to this poor animal's fur? I wondered. Just as had happened with the clowns, I was too shy to ask an adult why all these animals looked liked that, so I puzzled it through in my naive 5 year old head and concluded there had been a fire in the reptile house and all the animals had been burned. For weeks I woke up in a sweat every night as cute furry little animals burned in my dreams and turned into ugly chameleons. What an imagination!
I suggest maybe we should always explain things to little kids even if they see completely obvious to us adults! It could avert months of worry!