It may have been DorkySon’s best day ever.
It was warm and sunny. First of all we walked, then we took a train, and then a taxi.
He wiggled on my knee.
“I’m so excited,” he said.
We got out of the taxi, and DorkySon wrinkled his nose up.
“What’s that smell?”
“It’s the animals,” I said.
We had come to visit Willows Farm, near St Albans. DorkySon had been saying for weeks, inexplicably, that he wanted to go and see some pigs. So we did.
With that level of fickleness that only a three year old can muster, he showed no interest in the pigs. None at all. He had a bit of a giggle at the mice scooting around their section of the petting area, and he seemed to appreciate the chicks, snuggling together under their heater and cheeping away. But for the most part the animals were completely ignored.
It was the tractors he liked. The JCB diggers and the dump trucks, and most especially the purple wooden Land Rover, which he grudgingly shared with another wee boy called Arthur.
We made a halfhearted attempt at climbing into the treehouse, but a third of the way up he got a bit overwhelmed, so we came down.
Then, as though to compensate for that wobble, DorkySon rushed ahead of me, full of excitement and enthusiasm again. He casually patted the head of an alpaca, which was poking through the fence. He clambered up some steps before launching himself onto a big bouncy slide. Then he barreled off towards the trampoline.
“Come on Mummy, you come too.”
“I can’t,” I said. “Look at the sign.”
“Bother,” said DorkySon. “Perhaps that’s enough trampolining.”
He jumped off, and immediately strode away towards one of the rides. It was a carousel of little vehicles, the kind of thing that normally freaks him out.
“I’m getting on this,” he said.
“I’ll sit there,” he said, pointing at the vacant back seat of a two-person aeroplane. The pilot was a blonde girl, maybe four or five, who paid DorkySon no attention when he said hello.
I strapped him in, and then stepped away to watch. There was a clank. DorkySon put his hands over his ears.
The ride started to go round and round, very slowly. Then it sped up a little. Then the vehicles started to move up and down.
DorkySon passed by me twenty times, maybe twenty five. One time he took his hands from his ears and waved at me, shouted “Hello mummy!” and then immediately replaced them.
The ride stopped, I helped him off.
“Was that fun?”
“Yes,” he said. “But maybe that’s enough rides for now.”
We sat on a bench for a bit, watching some other children. But then DorkySon decided it was time fore more. A short, bumpy journey in a trailer behind a tractor. Another ride on another carousel. Diggers in the sandpit. Sandwiches and jelly for lunch. The biggest vertical slide EVER in the soft play area, which he shot down once, giggling madly as he crashed into the ballpit at the bottom, but then refused to go down again.
Eventually, after four hours of fun, he had had enough.
“Let’s go now, Mummy. I’m so tired.”
The train journey home was less than ten minutes, but DorkySon fell asleep in my arms, his arms and legs twitching with memories of climbing and running and jumping. It is good to remember that he is still only three.
He woke up, as I was lifting him onto the platform.
“That was so much fun,” he said, rubbing his eyes. “Maybe we can go and see some monkeys next.”