Walk and talk like an animal

by Mike Even as an adult, the idea of a giant sized rabbit that hops all over the world dropping eggs from its butt, intimidates me.

But, also as an adult, I realize there’s a responsibility I have to my kids to keep the secret of the Easter Bunny alive. So no matter how scared I thought I might be by the sight of a giant bunny dancing around a bunch of kids throwing eggs at them, we packed up both the kids and made our way to the McMaze Great Easter Egg Hunt in St. Andrew’s.

The drive itself has become, for our family at least, part of the adventure, much as it was when I was a kid. ‘Back in the day’ me and my two brothers would pile in the back of our two-door Toyota Tercel. This in itself may not have been a problem had we been okay with being touched by one another. But since just the thought of a siblings leg touching your leg sent us into disarray, to say we had our battles in that car would be understating it.

Leah and Charlotte are no different, but since they’re secured in their safety seats, and not able to bother one another through touching, they compete with yells. On this occasion Charlotte was the clear winner and Leah settled herself in after a few minutes to enjoy the screaming for the rest of the hour-long drive.

We arrived at noon just as the very well hidden farm opened. Watching the line of cars stream into the grass parking lot gave us hope that this place, although foreign to us, might actually be a worthwhile trip.

At $10 for those of us over two (although we were using a Groupon coupon this time around), we had some big expectations.

Within thirteen steps, we knew it was going to be. Leah started walking like a chicken towards a chicken coop and then began talking to them.

“Hello chicken.”

“Bock, bock,” (is that how chickens sound?)

“You have a red face.”

“Bock, bock.”

Then she started walking like a donkey towards a donkey and started to talking to it.

“Hee haw, hee haw,” she said to the donkey.

Who looked right back at her but said nothing. Then it was to the barn cates, then to the doggies, then to the pigs, and then to a few cuddly rabbits who were, as expected, on prominent display.

“Would you like to pet the rabbit,” a nice girl asked Leah, holding out the white bunny for inspection.

Leah moved in close to give pets but was first met with more instructions.

“Why don’t you put the rocks on the ground before petting her,” she was asked politely but seriously.

And sure enough, in both balled up fists, Leah was carrying rocks, as if to brain the poor creature.

Of course, with the prospect of being able to touch something so soft, Leah dropped them and planted a big kiss on the fluffy bunny’s nose before, of course, talking to it as well.

“I love you bunny.”

Then we were off to the wagon ride that would take us to the Easter Egg Hunt---the real reason we had made the trek out to the woods in the first place. They have two wagons that take 20 or so people back and forth from the Easter Egg Hunt woods. One of them was pulled by a tractor and the other by two horses. We of course picked the horses.

To our great amusement, one of the big male horses was named Charlie, the same name we gave to our tiny female daughter. Ironically, on this day, it was our tiny female Charlie who outpooped the larger male horse Charlie.

At the end of our three minute ride, we were dropped off at a beautiful outdoor space that boasted multiple fire pits, a canteen and importantly the start of the Easter Egg Hunt trail. We awaited instructions, were handed a basket and a list of eggs we needed to collect in order to collect our chocolatey prize and set down the path. Leah popped from egg to egg, throwing the dirty ones away (making collecting more difficult since they were all resting on dirt) and putting the most colourful ones in her basket. Paying no attention to anyone else around her, she took about five minutes to collect the eggs she needed. During the hunt we did see, as promised, the Easter Bunny bouncing around the heavily egged areas giving high fives to kids and generally being Easter Bunny-ish. Leah thankfully, never showed interest in visiting though, so I was spared the indignity of hiding behind my wife as my young daughter chatted with a large rabbit.

We cashed in her eggs, collected our chocolate and waited once again for the horses. Leah was not nearly as interested on the ride back as she was focussing more seriously on popping her chocolate into her mouth than anything else. On the way out of the place she did find time to say goodbye to the animals in between bites. And while there were plenty of other things to entertain us---livestock games, swing sets, animal petting and a fresh food market, it was time for us to hit the road with two tired girls.

“Oink, oink, fat pig,” Leah said to the fat pig.

“Hee haw, hee haw small donkey,” Leah said to the small donkey.

“Bock, bock red faced chicken,” she said to the red faced chicken.

And like that, our day at the farm was over. We had a great time and the hour journey was well worth it. We notice too that they run special events throughout the year that match up with the seasons---the Hallowe’en set-up looked particularly impressive so another visit may be needed in October.

But for now, Leah had all the chocolate she needed in the back of the car. And that made the ride home a little quieter.

Mike Reynolds (blog/Twitter) is an Ottawa born-and-raised husband and father to two beautiful girls. He’s obsessed with making sure his daughter says ‘daddy and mommy’ and not ‘mommy and daddy’ and with finding junk he thinks will one day be considered an antique. He also blogs about his admitted cluelessness when it comes to raising children.

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