The thousand-leg fix

Live tarantulas. Shiny, crunchy, palm-sized (unconfirmed) madagascar hissing cockroaches. Rock-jumping bullfrogs. A see-through beehive. Foot-long jungle-dwelling millipedes. Indonesian beetles so huge they had horns, not feelers.

Evan’s screams of delight rang through the halls of the natural history museum, peppered with the If-Only-My-Legs-Moved-As-Fast-As-My-Eyes patta-patta-pat of his sneakers. He ran circles, pointing and squealing at each diorama like a kid on a spinning fairground ride waving to buddies on each pass. He played with seal bones, measured a whale and almost turned himself inside out at the sight of the horses at the paddock next door.

Seeing him thrilled is crack. I want more. I’ll take him anywhere to reproduce it.

After that we roamed the hallowed stacks at the famed Woozles, where two enormous, kid-height railway scenes left Evan wanting another set of godzilla hands.

Then we left. And he freaked.

After that we walked to Cora’s for lunch, for its yummy food (hollandaise sauce, sausage and brie on the same plate) and its people who, when you sheepishly apologize for the state of the floor upon departure, say Don’t Worry! like they really mean it.

Then he freaked. And we left.

After that we walked to the playground at the Halifax Common, one of the best in the city. Slides and swings and wonky bridges and whoop-dee-doos: and repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

Then we left. And he freaked.

After that we drove home. He slept. And we pulled into the driveway. And he slept. Carrying him into the house, he koala-wrapped his legs around me, nuzzled his face in my neck. I thought is there a chance? and sat down in the la-z-boy for glory: he slept on me, while we rocked. Not since he was a wee baby has he done that. It was hot and neck-crampy and deliciously wonderful, a rare gift of stillness and intimacy during this high-motion era.

Then he woke, and we talked about the day, all the things we’d done and seen. He dressed in his Finnish coveralls and his rainboots, and we went outside in the pre-dinner dark to poke around in the backyard mud. Here he is, filled to the brim with input. And me? Filled to the brim with toddler, heart and soul.