Growing Up Part 2
Grumpy the Iguana, the Green Parrot, Mr. Squirrel, and Little Mouse stared at the baby manatee who was staring back at them. “What is this creature?” thought Grumpy.
The manatees stuck her nose and mouth out of the water to say hello.
The friends all screamed. Little Mouse quickly climbed on top of Grumpy's head. The Green Parrot flew up into the nearest tree and Mr. Squirrel just froze in place. “Maybe no one will notice me if I stand real still,” Mr. Squirrel thought to himself.
Baby started to laugh. “Hi,” she said trying to smile. “Who are you?” Grumpy asked as he watched Baby closely.
“My name is Baby and I am a manatee,” she explained. “What is a manatee?” Little Mouse asked. “Are you a whale?”
“No,” Baby answered. “Manatees are considered the gentle giants of the sea. We eat seagrass and ocean algae. Manatees do not eat little mice, nor do we eat iguanas or sassy squirrels. We do not eat green parents either, so you can all just relax.”
“Manatees do you like to make new friends, though,” Baby said cheerfully. “My name is Baby and you are?” Grumpy introduced himself and his friends. “Hey, would you all like to go on a tour of the marina?” Baby asked.
“We would love a tour,” Grumpy said as he looked back at his group.
“Hop on,” baby shouted. Little Mouse did not hesitate and jumped off the dock onto baby’s back. Next, it was Grumpy's turn. He slid down, feet first, landing safely next to Little Mouse. “You’re next Mr. Squirrel,” Grumpy said as he reached out his hand to his fluffy friend.
Little Mouse leaned over and whispered into babies ear. “Sorry if I offended you when I called you a whale. It is just because I have never seen a manatee before.”
“It's OK,” Baby whispered back. “Manatees are sometimes mistaken for whales because of their size. My dad weighs over 2000 pounds and it's 12 feet long,” she explained. “Wow,” said Little Mouse.
“Just remember that whales are fish and manatees are mammals. We do not use gills to breathe. We have lungs like you, Little Mouse.”
Mr. Squirrel was hesitating, “I'm not sure I can do this,” he said, shaking from head to toe. “Just jump,” said Little Mouse, losing patience. Mr. Squirrel covered his eyes with his tail. “Grumpy, can you take my paw, please, and help me on board?”
Grumpy gently, grabbed Mr. Squirrel’s paw and helped him onto the manatees back. “Your turn, Green Parrot,” they all shouted. “No thanks, I prefer the sky,” the Green Parrot, happily replied.
Baby was very excited. She had new friends and now they were going to float around the marina together. Could these friends possibly be the soul tribe that her mother had talked about? Baby smiled to herself.
“You all need to hold on tight,” Baby instructed as she slowly moved away from the dock. “Grab onto the whiskers on my back. I don't want to lose anyone on this trip.”
As the young manatee move slowly through the water, Grumpy and Little Mouse took notice of all the colorful fish swimming below them. Mr. Squirrel still had his tail covering his eyes, but peeked through his fur to watch the fish too.
They all way to the Green Parrot as he flew from tree to tree.
Suddenly, they heard the roar of a motorboat. The captain of the boats spotted Baby in the water and motioned for the crew to slow down. “Manatee sighting,”he said, “All hands on deck.”
Grumpy watched as the boat almost came to a stop and wondered why. A sign said, “No Wake Zone,” meaning no waves, with a picture of a manatee swimming underneath a boat.
Now Grumpy understood why boats should be careful and proceed with caution. Manatees are an endangered species and must be protected from boat accidents.
Grumpy was concerned for all manatees, especially his new friend, Baby.
The captain and crew of the boat grabbed their phones and took pictures of Baby’s passengers. They could not believe what they were seeing.
Grumpy, Little Mouse, and Mr. Squirrel smiled and waved as the boat passed by and moved out to sea.
“That was so much fun,” squeaked Little Mouse. “I agree,” said Grumpy. “I think we should head back now,” Mr. Squirrel suggested, still covering his eyes with his tail.
“I agree with Mr. squirrel,” Baby said. “My mom is probably wondering where I am.”
Grumpy turned to look at Mr. Squirrel. “You are very brave today, my friend,” Grumpy said, winking at Mr. Squirrel. Mr. Squirrel just smiled. He loved how his friends supported him no matter what.
“Baby, where are you?” a soft voice whispered. It was Baby's mom calling her.
Baby dropped everyone back at the dock, where the Green Parrot was awaiting their arrival. “It was so much fun meeting all of you and spending time together,” she said.
“Will we see you again?” Little Mouse asked. He could now say that he had a manatee friend. How many mice could say that? “Oh yes,” said Baby. “I will look for you whenever I swim into the marina, which will probably be every day.”
Baby waved goodbye to her new friends as she sank down underneath the water and swam toward her mother's voice.
“Well, as I always say, another day, another adventure,” Grumpy, sad as he high-fived his friends.