Weekends can be very trying in our house, for both me and Cameron I’m sure. But I know from experience that if I get us up and out of the house quickly there’s a chance of things going right. So this morning when all signs pointed towards a rough day – when Cameron spoke instead of crying it was whine, whine, whine, whine – I figured it was time to get dressed and get the show on the road. The plan was to get to the aquarium around opening time, and come home in time for a nap.
The trip there was sketchy. Lots of tears, lots of whining, at one point I said that if he didn’t stop trying to jump off the bus seat we’d get off at the next stop. He gleefully said yes, but I pointed out that the next stop wasn’t the aquarium and we’d go straight home. Yes, I’m that mommy. I reached for the bell-pull … and Cameron sat his rear down and didn’t budge until our stop, and even then I had to assure him that he’d done well, and this was the aquarium stop.
We got to the aquarium without further problems. First thing he wanted to do? “See the dolphins, Mommy! Dolphins!” We haven’t been there in a couple of months, and yet he remembered the way. We saw divers cleaning the dolphin tank, we watched the dolphins getting fed, we watched the seals and sea lions getting fed, we ogled the blimp that the baby beluga has morphed into. Seriously, it’s a wonder she can move through the water, though I know this is how she’s supposed to look. We talked about what the animals eat, and where they live. I reminded him about seeing a seal yesterday on our trip home.
Snack time – and Cameron threw an award-winning all-out tantrum in the snack bar lineup. He wanted coffee. I’m so not kidding. I let him scream, flat-out on the floor by the coffee service, kicking, flailing … all while I casually warned people to watch out and just step past him, he’s okay. When I’d had enough and there was no sign of improvement, I just announced that I was going to go and sit down, when he wanted some cinnamon bun (I’d already purchased it before this started) he could come and join me. Two seconds later he realized I was serious and came tearing after me, howling that he’d stopped crying, and to wait for him.
Snack over, Mommy caffeinated and Cameron not, we headed inside to get out of the sun. It turned into a very hot day. We looked at the surface of the huge coastal environment tank and talked about how it looked just like the ocean looked from above … let’s see what lives under the water, okay? Downstairs we went, and identified sea stars, various fish, sea anemones, and searched unsuccessfully for the octopus.
At the big tropical reef tank Cameron amazed me. Once, a loooong time ago, there was a woman in that tank, in scuba gear, cleaning it. We’re talking a year ago, minimum. Today, he leaned up against the tank to take a good look, then announced, “Nope, no lady.” Wow.
We watched the sharks circling in their tank, talked about rays (there were a couple) and the turtle. Then off to the rainforest, where we saw an anaconda, several caiman, a couple marmosets, a sloth, and lots of birds and butterflies.
Time to go.
Outside, I heard my name called – it was a woman from work! Very nice surprise. Cameron played with her husband while their daughter splashed around in the fountain.
On the way back to the bus, I figured Cameron was pretty tired, and was carrying him. An elderly Chinese woman was selling kites – I figured they were small single ones, though they were really multiples, a stack of six. She was asking twenty, far beyond what I was prepared to spend, so I walked away with a polite no-thanks. Immediately, she dropped her price to roughly what I’d considered affordable … and insisted that was her price for us. Okay, I bought one! All that aside, I remember her expression – surprised, pleased, excited, and for a moment taken aback – when I thanked her in Mandarin. It’s a fairly safe bet here if you use Mandarin instead of Cantonese, and I got it right this time. Cameron echoed me. She gently corrected my pronunciation and replied with a you’re welcome, and was again surprised when I knew how to say good-bye. I’ll have to remember to thank the ladies at work who have been teaching me.
Fast-forward to the bus. Oops. Missed our stop because we were playing and giggling. So we walked back to Granville, and stopped in Sears to get PJs for Cameron. On the way there, Cameron’s attention was caught by a man playing a Saxophone. We detoured slightly, listened a bit, then I had Cameron give him a quarter (cheap, I know, but I didn’t have much change). “Put it in the box,” I instructed. Cameron clearly misunderstood and headed straight for the man … and dropped the quarter into the sax! The poor guy was laughing so hard he couldn’t keep playing. On the way out, Cameron wanted to go back. What the heck, I thought. We weren’t in a hurry! It was already late enough that I was considering skipping Cameron’s nap and getting him to bed early. What a treat for him! The man had a high-hat cymbal thing, and encouraged Cameron to try. He did so well that the man played along, adjusting his music to the ‘beat’ Cameron stamped out. Cameron was oblivious to the group gathered to watch until the man ‘finished’ his song, and everyone clapped. With a squeal and stomps, Cameron put his hands over his face. He peeked out with a big grin, then ran to me, practically jumping into my arms. I sent him back with a toonie for the man – again, some would consider this cheap, but I’m on a budget here. This time Cameron got it in the right place.
Back in our neighbourhood, I picked up Monsters, Inc (oops), we went to JJs for lunch, then to the park! There, Cameron got to fly his kite finally. Hopefully tomorrow will have more wind and it’ll be easier. We wound up playing there for a couple of hours, as Cameron made (as always) new friends.
And there you have it. A Pretty Darned Good Day.