Yesterday at school pickup Moo was in a bit of a state. She had two skinned knees with bandaids on them, and was saying “I’m feeling delicate. Can I just watch some TV when I get home?” I’m pretty relaxed about TV time but at the same time something inside me just cringes at the thought of her flopping on the couch as soon as school gets out. That rapidly spiralled into a rather grumpy conversation, with poor Moo crying “it’s been a big day,” as we drove round the bays heading home, and me trying to protest that there are other relaxing things we can do together, honest.
On a whim I asked if she wanted to have a “play on the rocks” around by the local boatramp. We’ve had a few impromptu stops there on the way home and it’s always been quite good. She said no, though, but a few bays later she said “ok, let’s stop.” At first we just sat there, with a bit of music playing, and she cried in the car while I carefully tried to figure out what the hell was up. Was it the knees? A bad night’s sleep the night before? Something going on with her friends? (I think it was the knees.)
Eventually though, we got out of the car, and Moo walked along the rocks that shore up the “domain,” or whatever we’re calling it these days, and we walked past upturned dinghys and down on to the boat ramp, which was covered in snails. We spent a huge amount of time just looking at them, and then picking them up and throwing them back into the water. I spotted a pretty large starfish, sort of hanging out in the shallow water with the kelp, its funny wee suckers extending and retracting while it chilled. We spotted some cute crabs hiding under a rock, and let them be. Then further around we managed to find a wee tidepool filled with hermit crabs, and she got to experience for the first time that weird tickly feeling of a hermit crab on your hand, slowly emerging from its shell. Wee guys. They’d slowly emerge, then catch sight of us and zip back into their shell, and Moo quickly stopped feeling so nervous about holding one.
By the time we headed home an hour later we were both feeling in much better spirits, and man, I’m glad I remembered the boat ramp. I can only imagine how the afternoon would have unravelled without it.