Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Great Visit Was Had By All (Except The Tigers)

 Bec and the boys have been visiting for a few days.  They've gone home now so I get more computer time, but really I'd rather have more grandchildren time if I could.  We filled the days with lots of thing to do and seemed to be busy nearly all the time.  There was so much to do and so little time to fit it all in.

We all had a wonderful time feeding lambs, making interesting things, collecting eggs, going for walks to see the new lambs out in the paddock with their mums and generally enjoying farm life.   Ethan, (aged 3) is almost physically incapable of passing a large piece of farm equipment without getting into it.  Liam (aged 2 and a bit) is happy to follow and Michael (aged 5) likes to keep his options open, sometimes choosing to climb aboard and sometimes content to watch from the ground.  Ethan quickly attaches himself to the wheel of whatever piece of machinery he is in and proceeds to "drive" it.  Unlike a lot of little boys he doesn't bother with revving motor noises, he just enjoy the experience of being the tractor, header or truck driver, inspecting all the levers and pedals, trying them out to see if they can be moved and discussing the uses of most of them with me.  To tell the truth I don't know what half of them do, but Ethan doesn't mind if I don't know, he makes his own speculations about their purpose and we are both happy to accept that they do whatever he believes it is that they do.

 Michael driving the big tractor.  (I couldn't find one of Ethan or Liam too)

On the last visit here Ethan and I were sitting in one of the tractors admiring all the bits and pieces when he asked me if we could start the tractor up.  I said no or course.  Ethan then asked why, of course, and I responded that I didn't know how to drive it.  Ethan looked at me with his serious little face and said, "That's OK, I know how to drive it.  Granddad taught me last time we were here."  Well, how do you respond to that statement?

Meanwhile back to this visit.  On Thursday night Bec offered to cook dinner for us all.  Liam was feeling irritable while dinner was cooking and nothing would make him happy. There was no particular reason for the bad mood, just the general bad mood toddlers seem to adopt the minute Mum is busy cooking dinner. Seeing that Bec had taken over the kitchen, I lifted Liam onto my hip and took him outside to distract him for a while -that was my contribution to dinner preparation.  Ethan decided he'd like to come along too.  Michael was very busy saving turtles on a computer game and couldn't take time out from his mercy mission to go with us.  We put our farm boots on and I switched on the outside light.  We wandered down to the ferrets to get them out of bed so we could say hello.  Horton just raised his head out of the hammock, looked at us for a second out of bleary eyes and went back to sleep.  The others thought there might be a game in this and came out of the hammock ready for fun even though the sun had  gone down a while ago and it was past their bedtime.   Liam and Ethan had a great time talking to the ferrets.  They both like the ferrets as long as they have some bars between them and the little rogues and watching their antics.  The ferrets love all the grandchildren.  They are closer to their size, scream deliciously when pursued by a feisty little ferret and generally add to the excitement level of any play time the ferrets have, so they were very pleased to see the two boys and try to initiate games from the wrong side of the cage bars.

Once Liam had enough of the ferrets we returned to the house, but instead of going inside and finding Liam's bad mood again, we sat on the back steps until dinner was announced to be ready.  Billy was on the top step and welcomed us with lots of paws on the shoulders and sniffing of the back of our heads. Drool was shared too, but we won't dwell on that.  Ethan is fine with Billy but Liam is still a little scared of him, so I kept my back to Billy with Liam on my lap. It worked well.  Liam was happy not to be looking at all that dog and Billy was happy to share some quality time with his beloved short people.  

We sat quietly for a while,or as quietly as you can when Billy is amongst those present, looking at the stars and watching the ferrets make their way back to bed.  We discussed the stars (Ethan estimates there are about 100 stars in the night sky), aeroplanes that looked like stars and how dark it was out there.  After a short while Ethan went very quiet and sort of hunched over a bit.  I looked over at him and was just about to ask what was wrong when he looked at me very seriously and said, "I hope some tigers don't get us."  

The relief on his face when I told him there were no tigers in Australia except in zoos was a sight to see.  He straightened up, smiled and enjoyed the rest of our time sitting on the steps.  We discussed what night time animals lived on the farm and he was perfectly happy to share the night with possums, owls and bats.  When I thought about it later, I realised what a faithful little boy he is.  He honestly thought there was a chance that tigers would come out of the dark and get us, yet he sat on the steps to keep me company.  He didn't cry or carry on in anyway or run inside at the first opportunity to abandon me.  He sat tight and worried about tigers instead.  Now that's love!