Bing Bong

We’re at the San Diego Safari Park today, and there’s a playground south of Condor Ridge and near to the tigers where Cayde insists on having a break from all the walking. Finn is liberated from the stroller while still wearing a knee-length insulated jacket; he’s dancing around encumbered but happy, hands occasionally lost in the sleeves. He finds a corner of the playground where a circle of girls has formed, cousins by the look of it, with one tweeny and pony-tailed ringleader entertaining the lot by singing the ‘Bing Bong’ song from ‘Inside-Out’. They’re all shouting along to the chorus while beneath the playground slide, and it’s charming. There’s maybe ten of them altogether. Finn takes notice and sits down, then sidles up to the outside of the circle by scooting on his backside. Finally, he announces himself by tapping one of the cousins on the shoulder, all the while bouncing in his seat and wielding that big gap-some grin of his. He’s loving the sing-along. He wishes to say hello and join in. The cousin’s maybe seven. She sneers at Finn and recoils–she actually retreats with a look of shock and points. I can’t hear her, but her mouth forms an ‘Eeew.’ She scrambles away, climbing up and over all the other collected girls in a move to get away; Finn just waves. It’s heart-breaking and it’s the first time I’ve seen anyone react to Finn this way, adult or child, and though I’ve expected it, been aware of eyes, usually a surmisal of Finn has been met with a smile–sometimes unnecessarily sympathetic, sometimes acknowledging. I scoop up Finn, mostly to save the cousin from further and needless recoil, and the girls continue to sing: “Who’s the best in every way, and wants this song to say…” Finn laughs and echoes the chorus while I carry him away, “Bing Bong!” because he knows the words, too.

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