I was going to title this post: "That Pig Is Stinky". That was Dear Boy's pronouncement when we came across this big fella at a children's farm recently. He was perfect, snorting and snuffling against Dear Boy's face, rooting around his clothes for food through the fence. Life on the farm is definitely stinky but Dear Boy loved every mud-and-poo-covered minute.
Halfway through this month's Intentional Play theme of Autumn, and after a few craft acitivities painting autumn leaves, we've been looking at ideas of growing and harvesting food and life on a farm. Our farm 'smallworld' has littered the coffee table with horses, (slightly demonic looking) cows, sheep, dogs and a pig sitting in his own brown felt sty. My Boy's galloped the animals across the paddocks, let them graze on the grass and slurp at a scrap of blue fabric ("they are firsty, Mummy"). He's taken with the idea that animals eat and drink like he does.
And so, on a grey, rainy day when he'd up-turned the craft box and thrown everything across the floor, I loaded him into the car and drove out of the city to the far, far edges of surburbia. There, a little farm waited.
We were given a ticket on entry and a full loaf of bread to feed to the paddock animals (but not the horses - sad face). Dear Boy was startled when the sheep bleeted, just like on the television, and laughed when the goat headbutted them out of the way to take the bread from him. Cows and sheep and goats and alpacas and deer nibbled bread from his hands, their soft furry lips tickling at his fingers. That beautiful cow angled her calf away from us, always standing between us, but would take the bread and drop the odd piece in front of it before coming back for more.
Can I just say that deer have seriously creepy eyes. But the way their calves... err... sproing... is the cutest. Seriously Disney-esque stuff.
Emus also have creepy eyes. But these eyes dare you to come just that little bit closer, pal, so that monster bird can eat your face. Okay, I have a problem with birds.
But how seriously cute are alpacas. And alpaca eyelashes. And baby alpacas.
In a 'petting' barn, we got up close and personal with the baby animals. Baby alpaca! Baby goat! Baby sheep! Yeah, yeah, cria, kids and lambs, but babies! And that old chestnut, to never work with children and animals... neither sit still long enough for a good photo. Unless there's food involved.
He had a serious sensory overload, patting all manner of tiny beasts. There were also many lessons on patting with the grain of the fur/hair/wool and using gentle hands. And on not running with big clompy boots in the guinea pig and rabbit enclosure. And on not putting your hand into a hollowed-out log full of furry animals. And on not shrieking with joy within a few feet of a pile of bunnies. The little clever-clogs remembered the Charlie and Lola book we'd borrowed from the library a few months back, and announced that the guineas were "from Peruuuu" and kept calling out for Bert "who is a girl not a boy, Mummy. I'm a boy, Mummy".
Later this month, we're going to pack the car and do a day trip out into the Victorian boonies to take on a pick-your-own apple orchard. In the meantime, there's apple craft to be done and leaves to watching turning from green to red. Here's hoping Dear Boy's current attitude to the craft box improves.
Has Autumn arrived at your place yet? Has your child's play changed with the seasons?