Friday, 20 February 2009

Farming

T and I met friends at Smithills Open Farm in Bolton this morning (if you follow that link, beware the animals with evil eyes on the home page!) It was cold, and busier than I imagined, but there was plenty of opportunity for chicken chasing (what better way for T to learn to walk in his wellies!) and a friendly cow, who licked us, which was not entirely unpleasant. I like to think this was a mark of his appreciation for T's new 'mooooooooo', which is, if I say it myself, fantastic.

Anyway, we arrived at 10 am more than a little bleary eyed. I think I've mentioned my husband's shifts before. Monday to Friday he gets up at 4 am, leaves the house at 4.30 and starts work at 5 am. This would be OK if he was ballerina footed and had mastered the art of putting out your work clothes before you go to bed. In practice he bumbles around, knocking into things (this is as a result of his love for me which extends far enough that he doesn't put on the bedroom light) and making a lot of noise as he readies himself for his long day in the office. Most days, this doesn't matter. I have mastered the roll over and go back to sleep (some days I even get cross if he doesn't kiss me goodbye). This morning, however, T woke. At 4.30 am (with the slammed back door and hastily revved car engine) and Would Not Go Back to Sleep.

So by 10 am we're both tired. T enjoyed looking at the animals, being licked by the animals, pointing to the animals' eyes and saying 'iiiiiiiiiiii' (new favourite word). When we sat down on a straw bale for the goat feeding though, it was a different matter. I shall steal my friend's description that in a matter of moments T became a rigid banana. Arched back, screeching, refusing to sit, stand or do anything that wasn't trying to fling himself on the floor. Drink? Nope. Food? Nope. Toy? Nope. Standing up? Nope. Sitting down? Definitely not. I was running out of options when I realised he actually wanted to be held up to the laminated poster on the pole behind us (something about donkeys, I was stressed by this point) and touch the letters. He has a current fascination with letters and numbers. It started with having to touch the metal oval which contains our house numbers each time we go out of the front door ('that's a three ... that's a seven') and was concreted when Grandma bought a set of squishy letters and numbers that stick to the bathroom tiles and provide hours of fun. Anyway, crisis averted ('oh look, there's T's letter') we settled down to watch the show.

The goats came in, three week old orphans running for milk in bottles held by enthusiastic school-aged children. T was agog, especially when one (having exhausted the supply held by the little girl next to him) tried to suckle his coat sleeve instead. All the children had a stroke of the beautiful soft kids before a farm worker announced that next we'd get the chance to feed and pet lambs. T was trying to suck the coat sleeve already chomped by the goat, so I wasn't entirely concentrating, but somewhere in the far depths of my mind a great, red pregnancy alert flashed. Something about newborn lambs being a danger to pregnant women. I stood up quickly, a move which triggered rigid banana again. T under one arm I juggled my giant changing bag, the buggy and a tantrumming toddler. He kicked. Hard. I put him down on the floor to walk at which point he lay face down in a fresh puddle of goat wee. We went home, he showered. I put the clothes on to wash and sat down with a drink, by which time he'd woken up again.

I need sleep!

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