Last week we took a little bike ride to Riverdale Farm. It was a big ride for my littlest cyclist and a long day for our little bike seat rider. It was also a big day for me since, as those of you who’ve been will know, the staircase above is only one of the sets of stairs someone on a bike must conquer to get first on to the bridge then up out of the valley to get to the upper farm gate.
This trip started first as an idea to go to a new park, or maybe just one we hadn’t been to in a long time. You see, parks are kind of what we do. It is not unheard of for us to hit three or four parks in a day if it is a busy one full of lessons and such. We are regular park goers while our siblings take lessons so we have a pretty regular set of parks we frequent on a regular basis. I’ve been told it’s pretty boring. While we mulled over our options it struck us that the toddler had not been to the farm since last summer and since he was unlikely to remember much from those visits we were due for a return visit.
The little man loved the animals and climbed all the fences just as he should and neighed so loudly at the horses that I thought we’d never get him away but then there were ducks and sheep and goats and soon he was running from animal to animal. One of the benefits of having grown up down the street from the farm and having worked there for some time as a teenager is that I know all the ins and outs and secret paths. As the kids and I ducked around the caution tape and barriers and made our way along the road to nowhere their eyes widened at all the wildlife hiding outside of the fences. We played ‘how many ducks?’ along the pond’s edge and ‘what is that plant’ in among the trees before climbing atop the little storage platform by the monkey house for some lunch. Then it was back up the hill (we locked our bikes up at the top) and one last trip down to the bottom gate before the ride home. Little man barely made it down the stairs before demanding a nurse and climbing into his seat. he was asleep by the Dundas bridge and I spent the rest of the ride balancing his little head between my forearms. The littlest cyclist did us all proud by riding the whole 10k route without complaint though he did arrive home red faced and clearly done.
Four kids, four sets of firsts. Four times we’ll get to do everything and relive the wide eyed joy of a little one reaching through the fences to touch the sheep. Four times but never enough.
PS – as you can see from the photos my children are angelic, or someone licked the lens. Let’s be honest, it’s the second one.