The Elusive Niskayuna Sloth

[Scene: In the car on the way from soccer to lunch at Five Guys. SteelyKid is in her car seat, studying the Halloween-themed temporary tattoos all over her arms.]

SteelyKid: Do bats fly right-side-up, or upside-down?

Daddy: From the bat's point of view, it's right side up more or less by definition. They do sleep upside down, though.

SK: Yeah, they're the only animals that spend their time upside down. Except sometimes monkeys. Monkeys can hang upside down from their tails, and sleep that way.

D: Well, they can certainly hang upside down sometimes. Sloths spend a lot of time hanging upside down, too.

SK: Oh, yeah, sloths. I knew about sloths, because I've seen them.

D: You have? Where?

SK: At my school. There's a really huge tree by my school, not by the playground, but over where you play baseball and games like that. There's a sloth there who lives in that tree. I've seen it there, hanging upside down.

D: Really? I didn't know we had sloths living around here.

SK: Well, it didn't used to be there. It used to live down here, in a different tree. [points out window] That tree, right over there.

D: I did not know that.

SK: Yeah. It lived there, but that's a really nice tree, so lots of other animals came to live in that tree, and then it got too crowded. There wasn't room for the sloth, so it went to live in the huge tree by my school.

D: I guess that makes sense.

SK: I saw it walking there. It was walking really slow, so slow I didn't think it was moving at all, but then I turned my back and counted to twenty, and when I turned around again, it was in the tree.

D: It must have moved pretty quickly for a while there, then, when your back was turned.

SK: No. I counted really slowly.

D: Ah. Okay, then.

SK: It was moving really slowly, and then I turned around and counted really slowly, and when I turned back around, it was up in the tree, hanging there. I saw it. And now I see it every day, in the tree, hanging upside down.

D: That's fascinating. And good thinking, by the way, to turn around and look again later. That's a good way to know if something's moving really slowly. That's thinking like a good scientist.

SK: Yeah, I knew that was a good way to see if it was moving. I don't always know what to do for science, though.

D: Well, the important thing is not just knowing stuff, but knowing how to figure stuff out. And you knew how to figure that out, which is just what a scientist should do. So, good job.

SK: Yeah, I can figure stuff out. If you need to know stuff, you can go ask the other scientists. And if they don't know, you can ask me, and I can figure it out.

D: Especially if it involves sloths in Niskayuna.

SK: Yeah. I've seen it. It hangs upside down in the tree.

[Fade out as the car turns into the Five Guys lot.]

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