Lynnette is the official field trip researcher of the Higa family. Her internet searching netted her some information about bamboo fishing at Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens, so weather permitting, that was our plan for Sunday.
The roads were wet, but the sun was out when we awoke in the morning, so we chanced it. Our first stop was Kilani Bakery in Wahiawa for breakfast. Madison decided on the frosting with the cupcake bottoming. Lynnette got something called “stick donut.” Clever. And I went with the raspberry/cream cheese danish. I sat in the back with Mad because she wanted to eat her frosting with cupcake on the way to Kaneohe. I figured that I could try to limit the damage to Madison’s hair, car seat, and clothing by sitting with her and intermittently wiping the frosting off her face. Miraculously, none of the frosting ended up anywhere but in her mouth or the area in around it. I was hoping that she would randomly grow the Brad Pitt “I’ve got Angelina Jolie, so I don’t even have to try anymore” goatee, but this was as far as she would get. And, as I predicted, she never made it as far as the cupcake. She mopped up most of the frosting and that was breakfast. As awesome as that is, it won’t be as awesome as two days from now when we’re eating Franken Berry or Boo Berry. Aww, yeah. Tis the season.
The fishing area is a 20-minute or so walk from the visitors’ center. We stopped along the way to feed some of the ducks with the bread we brought as bait for the fish. Madison got a kick out of tossing the bits of bread out at the ducks. She quacked a little, too. Whenever I watch Madison throw anything, I do so with a discerning eye. Recently, she’s been throwing with both hands, even though I thought we’d already established that she was right-handed. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if she was one of those kids that wrote with one hand, ate with another, and threw with both hands. I mean at some point, she’s got to learn to get that front foot down before she throws, regardless of which foot that ends up being. We had to drag Madison away from the ducks and remind her that we needed the bread to go fishing still.
The path to the fishing area was dotted with signs and red fish pointing the way. Madison loved it. She ran towards each sign and insisted that I take a picture of her at each. It was kind of like Goonies or National Treasure or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (which we just watched last night for the first time. I understand why people were upset about it. At the same time, it’s no different than any of the other films in the series – it requires a ridiculous suspension of belief.) Also, Madison has a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD that features a lake with big red gooey fish (is that right?), so she was stoked to see life imitate art. I could literally feel Madison’s excitement build with each sign post. She kept trying to rip the fishing pole out of my grip. Prior to today, Madison’s only experience with fishing had been with games at carnivals, bamboo poles with clothespins attached, and cool toys on the other end.
We found a nice spot on the shore to start our fishing. The bread on the barbless hook was some pretty weak bait. In fact, it seemed like all the fish had to do was look at it and the bread would simply wilt off the hook.
When Madison learned that the fish didn’t simply jump out of the water onto the hooks, she lost interest in the actually holding of the fishing pole, despite screaming to hold one the entire trip down to the pond. Instead, she was content to run on the short hillside near the pond, rip out flowers and throw them into the river, and well, become “Bread Girl.”
Madison shifted gears and took slices of bread from the bag. When she wasn’t busy handing pieces of bread to us to use as bait, she simply ate the bread. She walked along the shoreline eating bread. She flopped on her back on our mat eating bread. It was awesome. Lynnette and I (mostly me) would just yell “Bread!” or “Bread Girl!” and Madison would run up to where we were and rip little pieces of bread off before handing them to us. She tore off these 5-inch pieces of bread. When I’d take half of it, she’d shove the other half in her mouth. She ate a lot of bread today.
The fishing was slow going until a park volunteer showed us a more effective way to bait the hook. The first half-an-hour was a pretty rough test of my patience. I guess Lynnette made it sound like this was going to be easy fishing, but after thirty minutes of watching fish 6 inches below the surface of the water, I realized it wasn’t.
It was one of those things. I know it had very little to do with skill, but it was getting super frustrating – especially when other families around us were pulling in fish. When Lynnette finally pulled this badboy in, I was mostly thrilled that we had caught something and that I’d have photographic evidence that our day wasn’t a complete waste.
Aside: Madison kept bugging Lynnette and I to wipe all the dirt and leaves off the pink and green mat we brought along with us. I don’t know how she could have made such a crazy demand when she was walking all over it with her shoes. Also of interest was the fact that Madison would leave her stray pieces of bread sitting on the mat, then run off and do whatever else she thought of. Then, whenever she felt like it, she’d saunter back over to the mat, pick up the bread, take a bite, then toss it down again. For a girl who cares so much about not getting dirty, this behavior was appalling. Funny as hell, though. She’s come back after Lynnette and I had used it and be all “Where’s my bread?”
I knew before we ever landed a fish that it would be my responsibility for to take the fish off the hook. There was no way that Lynnette was going to touch those icky slimy fish. You know what we forgot? Wet wipes or something for me to wipe the fish goo/dirty water off of my hands. So, like necessity is the mother of invention and all that, and I ended up wiping my hands on my shirt.
And then there’s this gem of a picture that Lynnette took. This was the lone fish that I caught. I wanted Lynnette to take a few pictures of Madison and I, celebrating our catch. Well, I guess Lynnette subscribes to the whole just-take-a-bunch-of-pics-and-hope-that-something-pans-out method of picture taking.
The first time Lynnette saw this picture on the little screen on the camera, she couldn’t stop laughing. I didnt’ see it as first. And then, well. It’s pretty hard to miss, I guess. If nothing else, the cool thing was that the fish were bright orange, and Madison referred to them as Mets fish. But then that’s about all the silver lining I could come up with regarding a picture that looks like I’ve got an orange fish where my wang should be. Good times.
The final tally was two fish for Lynnette, one for me, and eight slices of bread (my best guess) for Madison.
The hike back uphill to the parking lot was great. I mean, physical stress of any kind is my mortal enemy, but since I had to do it anyway, holding Mad’s hand, running and shouting is probably the best way I could think of doing it. You know, other than driving up the hill or someone carrying me.