Friday, April 15, 2011

Morning at the Museum

Abby doesn't walk, she runs. It's pretty ballsy of her, when you think about it. I lead her blindly into a new building, and she has no idea what's inside. It could be a line of monster trucks, revving their engines, ready to gun it and run her over as soon as she walks in the door. And she's scared of cars: whenever one comes moseying down our quiet little street, she runs and dive-bombs into the snowbanks making a nervous, fast-paced breathing sound.
But she trusts me and walks through an opened door with a skip in her step, her eyes cast up to take in the new place we've come to.
Today that place was this little natural history museum in Whitehorse. We walked in and she turned around trying to flesh out the origin of a bird call she heard. It was coming from the animal exhibit room. She giddily skip-ran right into the hall and shrieked, while I paid our admission. I hurried over to make sure she wasn't ruining anything or crossing any velvet rope, and there she was, twirling, jumping, pointing, all with her chin way up, looking at the tall bears, moose, eagles and wolves on display.
It was a vegetarian's nightmare, really, a room full of stuffed dead animals. But I'm not a vegetarian and this museum is as close as Abby's likely to get to many of these animals (except the bears, of course). She circled the room a number of times, telling me in her top-decibel voice what she was seeing and what sounds they made. (Or what sounds we imagined they made. We couldn't decide what a muskox sounds like).
It was the kind of place I needed to visit with Abby. On my own, I would practically forfeit my admission for the five minutes it takes to circulate the main floor. With an enthusiastic toddler, it was a whole new world. She ran in no discernible pattern from one animal to the next, squawking like an eagle and growling like a bear. I squatted down to her level and saw how big and fascinating these displays were. She was acting like an adult on drugs, her mind was just blown by these amazing creatures. She expressed herself in Wows and Eeees, and I laughed at how much fun we were having.
This is just the magic of having kids, isn't it? This new way to look at things, the chance to recapture the awe and fascination of a young child's first experiences. It is energizing, and gives me a lifted mood for the whole day. It helps me look at the cloud formations and blowing trees the way she would, noticing the colours and movements. I notice myself doing this even when she's not around, and it makes me grateful for this little Zen master who teaches me to slow down, live in the present, notice the beauty all around us. (Even if said Zen master then poops her pants and steps her feet in it).
I'm telling you, this kid went mental at the museum!


  1. Your description of her excitement definitely painted a picture, then I saw the photo - perfect description!!! Adorable.


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