My Little Mountain Climber

After the hike yesterday I’m calling Cameron a pair of new names: my blueberry, which makes him nearly burst with joy; and my little mountain climber. He is quite proud of having climbed a mountain, and rightly so! While Mystery Lake is more a walk than a hike for adults, it is up the side of a mountain nearly to a peak, and it is quite the adventure for a child between toddler and preschooler.

I thought I’d give him an idea of what mountain climbing really is. He’s seen pictures in books, but what better than a movie? Playing at the Omnimax screen at Science World was a mountain climbing movie, The Alps. Perfect!

I figured I’d distract him at any scary bits, and knew it has a happy ending, so what the heck  – why not? Even better, there was only one other family in the audience. We could make a hasty exit if needed.

It was needed. Cameron is apprehensive with new experiences like that, and the whole thing was overwhelming. He did relax enough to ooh about the trains, and at a couple early shots of people climbing. But generally, no go. He spent the time we were in there on my lap, snuggled close, generally not too happy. I finally asked him if he wanted to leave, after giving it maybe fifteen minutes tops to see if he’d relax. He nodded, lower lip quivering. Out we went, immediately.

“What was scary?” I asked him, once he’d calmed down a whole two minutes later. “It was dark,” he answered, then added, “Loud. Dark.” Much later we talked about what we had seen, and he did remember some of it, without fear. But he did comment that he cried, and that it was dark.

The remainder of our time at Science World was spent playing and at the ‘show’.

Cameron made a circuit! Okay okay, it’s modular (a switch, a light bulb, a capacitor), and each piece has magnets at the ends to help you put it together. Still, it was pretty cool to watch him assemble it, flip the switch, and see the light bulb start flashing.

The show was a parade of reptile pets put on by the West Coast Society for Protection and Conservation of Reptiles – turtles, pythons, boas, other snakes, various geckos and monitors. Then many of the pets were available for up-close visitation. Cameron got to touch a couple snakes. One big snake flicked its tongue at him while he stroked its soft skin … and then came the inevitable question: “Momma, can we get one?” I patiently explained that Nimoo Kitty would be very unhappy if we brought home a snake, and the snake wouldn’t be too comfortable either. Which reminds me, I must find her snake toy to demonstrate to him just what I mean. She hisses and yowls with arched back, then “kills” it ferociously. One of the handler-volunteers responded, “Depends on how big the snake is,” nodding at the g-i-a-n-t Burmese python in the corner. The thing’s head is the size of Nimoo. I can’t help but wonder how many rats that thing eats a year … or if not rats, what? Suckling pigs? (nevermind … mice, rats, pigs, goats. I looked it up. Now I’m imagining the mess the snake probably leaves behind it. I’ll keep Nimoo thanks)

While this would take care of the kitty pee problem, I just can’t quite see it happening. Pee and all, I do love my Moo.

Cameron was remarkably at ease with the snakes, and my training with him to ask before touching a dog is paying off. He asked politely to touch each time. Unlike some kids. Poor critters. No mention was made of big and scary teeth.

So while my little love may be scared of the dark and uncomfortable with loud and bright new experiences, he is still a little mountain climber, an explorer, unafraid of snakes and lizards. When I call him my mountain climber, he stands a little taller, obviously proud.


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