It was a drizzly, grey, sunless sort of day today. A perfectly normal Irish day in the west of Ireland this time of year, to be honest. Not really a nice day for wandering outside for very long. However, to get some fresh air and let the hyperactive toddler stretch his legs out even a little, we took a short trip to the Portumna Forest Park where we wandered around for a little while down the main path, little man in tow. Mum hasn’t been out west too often, so this was her first time in the park. She was fascinated by checking out which types of mushrooms and lichen grew on the sides of tree stumps, the texture of the moss, the ivy choking up the ramrod pine tree trunks. Some of the different tree types were signposted so we saw yew, hazel, and willow trees amongst others. Everything was wet and the air was full of the smell of cold, fresh earth. The paths were deserted because of the weather so we only met one determined couple out for a run.
Hawkeye has also spent little time in forests. We just don’t get the opportunity much. I think I need to take him to explore more of Phoenix Park beyond just the zoo but it’s still a bit of a trek for us. It is much easier for us to take him to the windswept beach from our current location.
So he was bit tentative in his exploration, but that’s a very typical Hawkeye approach. He was ever the cautious one instead of the kids who throw themselves into everything new head first. He likes to hang back, get his bearings. Determine what he thinks about the environment around him and weigh up the risks and benefits. His tentative probing of moss was a single finger. He did pick up some sticks (because, boys and sticks, y’know?) but he had no interest in getting his hands dirty or mucky otherwise. He waded through a few deep puddles carefully. He insisted on holding my hand whenever we wandered off the paved path and ducked under wide tree canopies.
At his insistence, we went on a bear hunt which is mummy endlessly reciting the words while the finishes off the sentences and makes all the noises. We also debated whether the little trickle of water on the side of the path was a stream where the Mouse was meeting the Gruffalo for owl ice ceam. And we also examined a log pile house to see if we could meet Snake. Upon cautious scrutiny (from a safe distance) it was determined that Snake was not in residence, so it’s possible the Gruffalo had already been by and the Snake had already been scrambled. I haven’t had the heart to tell him just yet that there are no snakes in Ireland.
On the way back to the car I spent a while trying to explain to him that although I’m his Mama (and no one else’s), other people have their own mamas, and that Mama and Daddy each also have mommies. I tried to explain that Baba is actualy Mama’s mama, and Nana is Daddy’s mama. He was unconvinced and I eventually admitted defeat. Mama is Mama and Baba is Baba and Nana is Nana.
On the way back he also insisted on finding a stick big enough to use as a walking stick. I don’t know where he picked up the idea as we haven’t done it before, but I did find one which, when I broke off some of the excess branches, actually even had a bit of a handle which is exactly how he held it. It’s now in the back of our car because it was the only way we could leave the forest without a tantrum.
I think it’s this mama’s turn to acquire some wellies for our next walk through the forest.