yay for the sun!

It was a rare sunny day today and after having been out in the morning to get some groceries, I desperately wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather for rest of the day. Raspberry wanted to go to the climbing rope structure just off Everton Park, but parts of the ground were still wet from the rain yesterday and I feared the playground might be wet too. Instead, I concocted the idea that we could go to Albert Dock with her camera, sketchbook and some snacks and enjoy an afternoon by the water.

But of course, the best-laid plans often go awry and that’s precisely what happened. There was a crazy tantrum at lunch, all over yogurt. Raspberry likes eating out of the big container and scraping the remnants and today, I offered it to Lucas instead since she often gets it. Naturally she wanted it and when she didn’t get what she wanted, she launched into full-out tantrum mode, complete with crying-screaming and stomping. She’s been having more meltdowns lately, after having been through a long stretch when they were rare. Lucas and I are clueless as to why but some of the reasons we’ve speculated include a recent increase in processed sugar (due to more treats and more store samples), dehydration (she’s been a total camel the past few months and some days barely drinks a cup of fluid), or a slight change in routine due to Lucas having to be at school more often. We don’t know, she doesn’t know, it’s driving all of us crazy. On the weekend, Lucas said some of the things she was doing were really pushing his buttons and he was getting rather annoyed with her. Interestingly, I don’t really get this button-pushing with her and we generally coast through our days with little issue. I can’t help but wonder if she’s sort of reacting to his increased absence and they’re out of sync and having to reacquaint with each other on he weekends. Hmmm.

With the tantrum, my original plans were thrown off a bit. Lucas thought that we should go somewhere closer like the library and St John’s Gardens, since it takes us about forty to fifty minutes to walk to the docks. I didn’t feel like majorly altering our plans because I still wanted to be outside enjoying the sunshine and had planned for the library tomorrow anyway. Miraculously, it didn’t take us very long to get to the docks and I’m glad we went instead of the alternative.

Raspberry climbed the sculptures, like she usually does, and we took a walk along the water toward King’s Dock. I’ve always wanted to take that route but have always had a reluctant kid with me. She was intrigued by all the locks hung upon the chains and held each one to read the inscriptions, pretty much all of them declarations of love for a significant other. There were a couple of ribbons too, and I said we could write our own names on a ribbon and attach it to the chains if she wanted, which she did. I’d forgotten her camera as I’d been caught up in the throes of her tantrum, and it was a little too chilly to sit and draw, so we just took a walk along the water toward the Echo Arena and back again. Despite the fact that the sun would occasionally dart behind the clouds, it was still gorgeous. I absolutely love the evening sun, especially the rich orangey glow it has. It seems to be more prevalent in the fall than any other season and honestly, I love photographing in that light.

We went into the Tate to warm up after (also part of my original plan). A new exhibition opened last weekend, and new exhibitions mean that the Art Dock (the creative space for kids) undergoes a makeover. I wasn’t really a fan of the last activity there, which involved inscriptions on gift tags tied upon plastic tubes — it seemed too basic and not very engaging for a younger kid — so I was looking forward to seeing what they’d come up with this time. This one was based on Palle Nielsen’s The Model and revolved around the idea of creating imaginary worlds or spaces. As with most things new, Raspberry was quickly absorbed into making her drawing on graph paper (of cats, of course), and manipulated wire, rubber tubing and plasticine into a structure of sorts. If we didn’t have to get home at a specific time (because Lucas had volleyball tonight), I’m sure she’d have gladly worked at her structure until the gallery closed. She loves working with her hands and making things (two nights ago, she made a dress for Hippo Hippo out of paper) and I love that she has the opportunity to try out different materials that we don’t ordinarily have, to come up with something imaginative. I think the novelty of the activity certainly helps too. Who knows if she’ll be as engaged with it the next time we’re there, but I’m just glad she enjoyed it this time around. Our next visit to the Tate though, I definitely want to revisit some of the exhibitions we’ve seen, as well as check out the documentation of The Model so maybe that’ll help spur some creativity when we make it to the Art Dock thereafter.

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