When Owen was quite small, he had some pajamas that featured a monkey riding a dinosaur. These pajamas initially struck us as cute, but later on we wondered what the designers had been thinking. Were they making a political statement? Were they suggesting that monkeys and dinosaurs roamed the earth together? We referred to them as his creationist pajamas, and were kind of sad when he grew out of them.
This past weekend we went to our village’s winter carnival, part two. Part one involved sled dogs at Morgan Arboretum and in some days was more glorious (the day was perfect and the setting so majestic). Owen, Duncan and I headed out after lunch, thinking that if it was not going to be any fun, we’d just go home. Initially, it seemed like there was nothing for us to do. There were hockey tournaments, blow up castles, and skating – none of which we could really do with a toddler. We meandered over to the sign that proposed free hot chocolate, and I bought Owen his first taste of maple taffy. Then we noticed a table covered in garden tools and spray bottles of coloured water. It turned out that we could claim a block of ice for ourselves and carve it into whatever shape we chose…
We dragged Owen and his taffy over to an appropriate block and threw him in a snowbank so we could get to work. A colleague of mine claims that almost every story I tell of Owen lately involves me first throwing in the snowbank. To be fair, Owen loves being thrown in snowbanks (literally) but I do not actually THROW him in snowbanks on a daily basis. In this case, we (literally) sat him down in the snow so we could work our artistic magic and he could finish his candy.
Most of the people around us were spraying their names onto the blocks of ice. One family had made a tunnel. The week before, the projects had been more ambitous: there had been a little snowy owl, a heart-shaped bench, and an (amazing) octopus fighting a snowman. Duncan and I were ambitious. First I proposed our family. Too ambitious. Then we thought a snowman. Too boring. Then I proposed a dinosaur, because dinosaur is one of Owen’s new words, and I figured he’d like it if he could say what we were making: “Disoh!”
One of the corners already kind of looked like a dinosaur’s head, so we started to whittle away at the ice. As soon as we started, we realized how much more difficult it was going to be than we imagined. I still have bruises on my hands from smashing my trowel into the snow, only to find that it hid ice. We had also left the house wearing jeans and impractical clothing in general, so we got colder and wetter as the afternoon wore on. When Owen finished his taffy, we gave him one of the garden tools and asked him to poke holes in it (as a way to occupy him) because by this point, frankly, the carnival was about us, not about him. He played for a bit, and then some 80s tunes came over the sound system and he started dancing. He was having a good time. Duncan and I took breaks occasionally to dance with him.
Eventually, we decided to abandon one side of our beast, because we did not want to be there all day. We were cold, and worried that Owen might get cold too (though he was toasty because dressed appropriately in a snowsuit.)
We finished our creation and placed our own monkey on top (sorry for the quality of the images, but all I had to record the moment was my cell phone):
And just before we left, we gave our dinosaur some rosy cheeks (fortunately sent by a friend who had a real camera):
Isn’t he cute?