That’s not a mouse, that’s a sea lion.

When I was about four, my family visited a local aquarium. I had been there a few times already, but it was the first time for my baby brother. It was around the time when he had started talking and reading some picture books.

At the aquarium, my mother and I made a team and my father and my brother made another team. Since my brother and I had different needs and interest due to our age gap, my parents decided to make this arrangement in order to make the most out of our stay.

A few times a day, there was a sea lion show in the designated outdoor space. My father decided to take my brother to one of them.

In the show, several sea lions appeared with an aquarium staff, and they played many tricks following her lead. My baby brother was looking at the sea lions with great attention. Then he said,

“A mouse!”

“A mouse?”

My father was puzzled for a second. Then he tried to understand what my brother was seeing in front of him.

From the backseat where they were sitting, the sea lions looked much smaller than their actual size. With the long whiskers, they did look like mice. These sea lions must have reminded my brother of the mouse he had seen in some of his picture books.

“A mouse!”

My baby brother said again. My father leaned in and spoke to my brother in a gentle voice.

“Honey, that’s not a mouse. That’s a sea lion.”

“That’s not a mouse, that’s a sea lion.”

“That’s right. That’s a sea lion.”

With his eyes glued to the sea lions on the stage, my brother repeated what he had just learned once again.

“That’s not a mouse, that’s a sea lion.”

Later, my father told us that my brother kept repeating this sentence many times for the rest of the show and it became one of the most famous sentences in our family.