An excellent morning! It’s sunny and there’s absolutely no wind, so it feels much warmer than the thermometer says it is. Sparky and I spent two hours at the Ecomuseum this morning, stomping in puddles and through mud. The original and earnest plan was to do it on foot, but right out of the car he asked to be carried. Uh-hunh; I don’t think so. So I pulled the handy-dandy Emergency Umbrella Stroller out of the trunk, which delighted him because he decided he wanted to push it. This would have been fine if the paths hadn’t been mud and water, and if he knew what a straight line was, and if he didn’t have that I-am-three-and-I-can-do-it-MYSELF streak flaring up that refused to allow me to help steer the thing.
There were a couple of class groups and a handful of families there at the same time, but the compound is big enough that we only ran into them once or twice. We saw an Arctic fox, and a pine marten doing intense laps in his enclosure, and deer, and crows, and the ravens flying around their enclosure (wow). Then we went to see the ducks in the waterfowl pond.
And there it was that disaster struck. See that faded green hat in the post icon? It is now at the bottom of the duck pond. Yes, Sparky leaned over the railing a little too far and suddenly wailed; his hat had fallen off. I grabbed for a shovel and threw myself down on my stomach and tried to hook it but it was just out of reach. Let me tell you, the wails and the tears and the running of the nose turned it into a Titanic-class tragedy. I tried to reach it from the next edge but there was no way. So I soothed him as best I could, but he didn’t want to leave it behind. I suggested going on to see the foxes and the wolves, and checking back later to see if the hat had drifted to shore. “Maybe the ducks will bring it to the edge of the pond,” I said, so he pressed his face against the railing and hollered, “PLEASE DUCKS, BRING MY HAT!” Finally he agreed to continue along, but he wanted to be carried so I managed the stairs up to the next level with him on one hip leaning his tear-stained cheek against my shoulder, and hauling the stroller up with the other hand. Then he wanted to sit in the stroller (aha, finally) and didn’t want to get out to see the animals, but complained that he couldn’t see. And the entire time he was saying, “Where is my hat? Is it in the water? It fell off? We will ask for help when we get back.”
The bears were out for the first time this spring, and we saw all three of them. And we spent about half an hour watching the river otters from both the top level and the window looking into their tank. There were more tears when I finally said that we had to keep going, and after a quarter-hour of resistance he climbed into the stroller on his own and waited for me to catch up and push him along. We took a side trip to check the duck pond but the hat was nowhere in sight; it had sunk, as I had expected when I saw it taking on water as it made its initial progress across the pond. There was no point in asking the staff to pick it up for us. So we agreed that he could wear his Thomas the Tank Engine hat from now on, and we’d keep our eye out for a new cap too. Then we saw the owls, and then we went inside and had our peanut butter sandwich while watching the birds in the solarium.
The car was nice and warm from the sun; I took off both our jackets. He almost fell asleep on the way home, but I kept him up with raucous Muppet songs. We finished lunch while watching the DVD disc of the new They Might Be Giants album Here Come the 123s, and now it is nap time. (This is a big improvement over last Tuesday, the day upon which there was no nap.)
Good day so far, with one bad bit. After the nap, I think we’ll bring out the home-made play dough again and make another army of Totoros. Or maybe the finger paint. [ED. NOTE: It ended up being making cupcakes and watching the TMBG DVD again instead, then playing in the backyard till we decided to take the wagon to the bus stop to meet HRH when he came home from work.]
A selection of photos from the Ecomuseum are up at Flickr. And now, bonus pictures: We have crocus-age!