Many households had to deal with power outages due to the nasty storm this week, but my house was one of the lucky few spared. All A/C and overuse of technology all the time for us! Hooray! So I was surprised to find out on Tuesday morning that both DD2’s home-carer that lives 5 minutes away *and* DD3’s school daycare didn’t have power. My plans to go to the office and have a productive day were foiled… and this did not please me to say the least. Alternative arrangements needed to be made.
Intro an impromptu trip to the Experimental Farm. A quick call to a girlfriend of mine, looking for another parent to commiserate with, and (bingo!) I had plans to keep the kids entertained for the morning.
Things were going swimmingly. The girls were happily playing in the play structure. A lovely picnic was had in the shade. Then my friend suggested we go to the Dairy Barn. Since DD2 was clambering to see pandas and monkeys, I figured I should appease her by showing her more than just the Experimental Farms slides and sand box, even if the animals weren’t particularly “exotic”.
So in we went… and all at once I was struck with a fear I hadn’t felt since I was a child. I wanted to back up slowly. No, correction, I wanted to turn around and run away as fast as I possibly could. All I could think was “Holy f*ck those cows are HUGE!!!!”
Though I was raised in the country, and my Dad was raised on a farm, I was quite the “nervous ninny” as a kid. From the time I was a 2 (or 3?) year old running away from a tiny yappy dog trying to nip at my heels, to my mom trying to get me to pet a goat at the mall petting zoo, to my uncle putting me on a horse when I was crying not to, to my mom putting me on a freaking elephant at the circus against my will… I’ve been nervous around animals. However, I haven’t had much reason to tap into this fear as an adult. I generally like animals. I love cats. I’ve grown accustomed to dogs. Though this visit to the Experimental Farm triggered hidden fears I’d forgotten I had.
I didn’t run away. I didn’t even back up slowly. When I saw that DD3 was clearly freaked out by the cows too, I knew I had to be strong. Well, maybe not too strong. I crouched down and said “Those cows sure as big aren’t they, but they aren’t going to hurt you. I understand they make you nervous. They make me nervous too. Just hold my hand… let’s go say hi to them together.” And while DD2 was happily being held by my friend and screaming “COWS!” with glee, DD3 and I cautiously walked down the halls. We talked about what colour the cows’ spots were, what they were eating, what they were drinking. I explained how these cows produce milk, and showed her a calf that had just been born the day before. Eventually DD3 let go of my hand.
An hour later, when it was time to leave, DD3 cried. She wanted to go see the cows again.
And I smiled… because maybe I did my job “right”… at least at that moment anyway.