Last week after read/singing (& dancing) Barnyard Dance to Kaya for the millionth time, it occurs to me that besides books, Kaya has never actually seen a sheep or a pig or a chicken. She’s never met a horse or a bunny.
She has seen ducks and I can see her mind trying to figure out why these ducks with the green heads are so different than the bright yellow ducky that plays dead in her bath. Still, she knows both are ducks and happily quacks at both.
She’s seen cows but only from afar and only takes a secondary glance after her mom and dad insistently (almost obsessively dare I say) “Mooooo’s” any time one is passed.
She’s seen head-band bunny ears. She’s strollered through horse droppings. She’s seen sheep wool toques and heard her mommy say to daddy “You’re such a pig!”
But this is probably not the well-rounded education us parents should be providing. So last weekend, we set off for Maplewood Farm in North Vancouver.
Oh sure, being a country girl myself, paying $5 to go smell… err see swines and turkey’s seems slightly ludicrous. But in this age of indoor play gyms, toddler tv channels and infant video games, the kids don’t always make it out to the farm.
In fact, I just read an interview with Richard Louv who wrote ‘Last Child In The Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-deficit Disorder’. It’s a fascinating read about how our children are completely disconnected from nature and what this means for the future.
Fortunately, and not accidentally, we live in an outdoorsy town where we leave our house and are on a huge network of trails along the river. A short bike away and we’re at the ocean. A short drive (or longer bike) and we have multiple lakes. There are waterfalls and mountain climbing and bike trails and horse rides. We are certainly not disconnected from nature.
Still, she hasn’t encountered a goat on those trails. Or a llama or a peacock. So to the farm we go!
Quite honestly, my disallusioned adult self may have been bored there if not for having a nineteen month child reminding me of all the intrigue and wonder. Baby goats (kids I suppose they are called) eating grass and leaping around, sheeps racing and colliding with their mom to madly suck on nipples (that was Bal’s moment of wonder actually), pigs snorting, chickens strutting, little girls getting pony rides, and bunnies nibbling are all fascinating events if only we take a moment to appreciate them. Kids take that moment. Kids absorb and their awe is reflected in their eyes.
It’s a good reminder. We don’t need Baby Einstein videos or Guitar Hero to impress our kids. We just need to step outside.
And be reminded that these little moments are the best moments.