Thursday, February 28, 2013

Skating on the rainbow

February 27

We found the roller skates! Yes, they have been lost in the house for months. I remember carefully putting them away. Well, turns out I was too careful. My mother used to do this. She would get books she wanted to give for Christmas, put them on the shelf, and we'd discover them years later. It turned into kind of a game. But the roller skates have been sorely missed.

My older daughter as the informal title of "good finder" in our household. She found my camera under a dresser last month (I'd been missing it for over a year) and she knows that the third plastic window for her Lincoln Logs is on the floor in the basement. The skates did prove a challenge, she has been hunting now for quite a while. But finally today, they appeared: behind the grass seed in the basement. Thank heavens.

"See," she said triumphantly, "Grandma is right 'The house hides, but it doesn't steal.' "
And now we can get out in the driveway and skate, skate, skate.

My little one and I made a mural while we were waiting for the bus: our faces under a rainbow. She was very particular that I label us with our names and that I get the hair and eye colors right. She loves when I talk about how she has my hair and her daddy's eyes.  "Who's mouth do I have? Who's ears do I have?" she asks. We play this game, going over her part by part. "Oh, yes you have Daddy's knee, I can see!"

Nothing special

February 26

Today flew by. Did we go outside? Yes, a little. Some fresh air, some bird watching, some running and trike riding. But the nice thing about going out every day is that it is just what we do. We don't have to have a plan or make it into something exceptional. This is our norm, nothing special. And because I've given myself permission to only be out for 15 minutes, some days that's it, 15 minutes and we are done. Back to whatever we were up to inside.

It was cold today and after a bit of driveway play we came inside, better off for having been out. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe something exceptional will happen or maybe it will just be another day of nothing special, I'll take it!

I used to experience a lot of guilt about not being outside enough. A beautiful day would come and I'd feel so terrible that we were not on a nature walk as soon as breakfast was over, playing at the park until lunch, and biking to the river in the afternoon. The beautiful day would unfold and I would feel like no matter how much of we enjoyed it was never enough. Short of camping out in the back yard, I always felt like I was wasting some of the day. But now I know that beautiful or dreary, we will be outside again tomorrow. We can be out for hours or for minutes. It is OK to take it in small chunks. The habit is important to me now, not the duration. The expectation that my kids have that we are going to play outside has changed the feeling of our days.

Monday, February 25, 2013


February 25

This is a dollar store magic wand but it might as well be Merlin's own because when my daughter wields it magic is afoot. She is three and magical thinking comes naturally to her. She slips from one persona to another throughout the day. Her desired hairstyle is usually the key to remembering who she is at any given moment. Pigtails for Pippi, loose for Ariel, braid for Cinderella and the list goes on. 

Today as we play on the swings she "poofs" me with her wand. Over and over, "Poof you are a frog!" I act accordingly, "Poof you are a tiger!" I growl. "Poof you are a mermaid!" and finally "Poof you are a Mommy." She always brings me back with a satisfied smile. Home base. Mommy is Mommy again. I think about all the characters we adults inhabit during our days. This is pretty good training for being out in the world little one. I'm happy to play along.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


February 24

It was a gorgeous spring day today. After the cold and the rain rain rain, today was just glorious. We opened all the windows, turned on the fans and let the house breath while we spent the afternoon outside. After plenty of swinging and chasing we headed up to the deck and I brought out a brand new tub of air dry clay. Yes, just good old clay. It's about five dollars for 2.5 lbs, packaged by Crayola, sold at Target and all over. Just a tub of mushy gushy clay. The idea here is all process and no product. We just want to get our hands into it, mix it with water, roll it, spread it, mush it, and gush it. We are outside, it is clay, no worries about the mess, it will wash way (I promise). I get each girl a bowl of water, a plastic plate and a plastic fork. They don't even need that much. Just squeezing the clay between their fingers is the main event. As they have done in the past they decide after a time to rub the clay/water mix on their arms, which leads to a clay beard, a hand print on a tummy, clay covered feet . . . you get the idea.

We roll and squish for over an hour. I join in and love the leisurely feeling of slick clay on my hands and the sun on my arms. We chat about this and that, we turn to check out the birds busily tasting our newly filled feeder, and we just enjoy the immensely satisfying tactile experience in front of us.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

New Growth

February 23

Spring is an amazing time. It is my favorite season. Today we are playing in the driveway with our now habitual trike, bike and chasing games when I notice this bright green cluster of leaves. It looks like a firework of newness. The color alone takes my breath away. But here's the thing about spring, this new growth has appeared and it is still cold, rainy and quite wintry feeling.

It is the promise that I love, the starting over, the pushing and swelling. The restarting of the life cycle all around us. I see tiny buds on the blueberry bushes. Little bumps on another tree that will soon enough burst into little leaves. And around the corner there are three trees that have burst into bright pink blooms already. It is coming, even on this cold dreary day we can see that spring is on the way.

Friday, February 22, 2013

New Chalk

February 22

Oh this beautiful new chalk! We have a brand new 24 pack of sidewalk chalk and we are very excited. Me more or as much as my girls. Even the package is beautiful, tidy groups of four wrapped tightly. I look at the array of colors and see a nice math problem. "How many groups of four? It's multiplication!" My first grader is used to this. "Look, we can turn it this way and it's in groups of six, still 24?" She counts and agrees. I continue dividing the chalk in new ways. Two groups of 12 and then twelve groups of two. She looks at me with her "can we play now?" expression and I know I'm overstaying my "teachable moment."

We head outside to the wet cold deck. First we line up all the chalk in rainbow order talking about where white, brown, black and grey fit. Then the coloring begins. They decorate a small chair and the plastic water table. After a night of rain the colors will be all but washed away. But for now they are vibrant and beautiful. The chalk gets dropped into the water and we discover that some colors float and others sink! That's an exciting discovery. My little one helps fish them out with her magic wand. I think her ear infection is on the way out, but she has a nice snugly hat and boots anyway. We are heading in for a nice warm bath after this.

Ah, parenthood

February 21

Today was one of those days that only a parent really understands. My little one spent the night crying on and off while holding her ear. We headed to the pediatrician as soon as they opened and yep, ear infection. Poor baby. She seemed to perk up a bit after the lollipop and so I decided to just make one stop on the way home. . . you know what's coming.

We stepped into the lunch place and I glanced down. There was the cough/hiccup that means imminent disaster. I scooped her up and backed out of the restaurant. Poor diners, didn't really need explosive vomiting near their lovely lunches. We made it to the sidewalk and my poor darling lost her cookies, well lollipop, well everything, mostly on me and some on the street.

So our outside time today? Half naked in the parking lot, wondering if it is safe to get in the car. Where's that change of clothes? Oh, yes, here it is for her, but who carries a head to toe change for themselves. . .

Bird feeder

February 20

My little one is learning about birds at preschool. Her teacher loves bird watching and has brought her passion into the classroom. They can identify many of our local winter birds and we love watching the feeder on the deck. Whenever someone spots a bird we creep close to the window to get a better view.

Today the feeder is empty and we head out with our bag of seeds and a plastic scoop. I climb up, get the feeder and put it at kid height for filling. My little one scoops and pours seeds, many going onto the deck and some into the feeder. We take our time and watch the feeder slowly fill. Yes, it would be much faster, cleaner and more efficient for me to do this task, but she is so focused and has such ownership of the feeder. "The mommy Cardinal is going to come today," she says carefully  scooping seeds. "I saw the daddy Cardinal, he's red red red. The mommy isn't so red."

I love her teacher for opening this world to her. I love that we will sit on the couch later and wait for the mommy Cardinal. Chances are she will come.


February 19

Regular life is back. School, work, schedules. After school a friend comes over and we head out to the deck for a spirited game of ninja. I love that they know how to kick and chop without ever getting close to making contact. They look fierce as they invent a complicated narrative of good and bad guy.

The story takes them in and out of the house. Ambush, chase, chop, kick, repeat.  My little one follows along keeping a safe distance. She really wants to do everything they are doing but knows she has to be mostly an observer right now.

After a time she and I decide to water the plants with the water from the water table. We decide to water on tiptoes. We are the Watering Ninjas. More our speed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wheelbarrow Pirates

February 18

We are home and have one last day together. My husband and our girls head to the back yard. They begin with the running, climbing, and swinging as usual but then things get interesting. My girls have long been enamoured with the pirate persona and love to attack their daddy with tickles, kisses and occasionally a Nerf sword.

Today he puts our little one in the wheelbarrow and they are instantly pirates sailing the high seas as they bump across the grass. They fire the soccer ball at the other pirate who laughs so hard at being chased in this way that she can hardly breath. "Fire in the hole!" they shout and toss the ball aloft. "Missed me, missed me!" comes the reply. The glee is contagious and we are all in hysterics by the end of the game.

Lucky the seashell

February 17

Today is windy and the temperature has fallen. There is snow somewhere close and we can feel the edge in the air. On their morning run/bike my husband and first grader find this beautiful shell on the sand. Its little inhabitant is closed tightly inside and is so cold they surmise he must be dead.

After an hour in the kitchen his little foot starts to extend looking for something to grasp. "He's alive, Lucky is alive!" shouts my first grader. I didn't know he had a name. And so begins a debate about what to do with our new friend.

I advocate for returning him to the ocean. My daughters want to keep him and take care of him. My husband thinks it is too late to save him so we might as well keep the shell. We talk about what he needs to survive and what would make him happy. Finally we agree Lucky should go back to where he was found. We bring him to the surf and my daughters say a long goodbye. They gently toss him into the water and I can see my older daughter is about to cry.

Beach Grass

February 16

Today is a perfect day at the beach. It feels almost unreal to be here digging our toes into the sand. The sun on my face feels so good. And to make it really feel magical we see dolphins just off shore!

My little one wants her legs buried under the sand and a mermaid tail formed over her lower half. She gently pats the sand and draws designs in her tail. We give her tiny shells to add to her decorations.

My husband and first grader dig a moat around a beach chair while I wander a bit to take in the sights. The dolphins appear again. The tide is out and they are having a nice meal out there.

This day recharges my battery and fills my soul.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Starfish Season

February 15

What do you think, is this photo clip art or a greeting card? Neither! My husband snapped this on his run/bike with our first grader this morning. He said he thought it was starfish season, and here is proof! Amazing. Thanks for the nice decorative foam swoosh, honey.  This really needs to go in my "should be printed and framed" folder. Well I have that folder in theory, I keep meaning to set it up. . . and print the photos . . . and frame them. Someday, someday.

After brunch (I love vacation) we head to the beach. A bag of sand toys, chairs, a sparkly pink soccer ball, several changes of clothes, towels and a snack. We are traveling light today.

It is not swimsuit temperature but we don't care. It is sunny and clear with no wind. The sand extends as far as the eye can see in either direction. The tide is out so there is a wide expanse between the dunes and the tiny surf. My first grader and husband set up a soccer goal and take turns kicking and blocking. My little one grabs the oversize shovel and starts digging. "I'm going to find a crab! Want to help?" she says.

After hours of running, digging, exploring and sitting in the sun my first grader ventures into the water. She starts slow, but soon is trying cartwheels that end in a full body splash. Then she is kneeling in the water leaning back and forth as the surge gently pushes her. She reminds me of myself at six. I loved to swim in the cold ocean. I can still remember the mesmerizing feel of my feet sinking deeper and deeper into the sand with the wash of each wave. Will she remember this day? The sand and water. The sight of her family waiting with smiles, fuzzy towels and a warm sweater. I hope so.

Spanish Moss & Hugging Palms

February 14/15

We get to the beach late, it is dark and the kids are asleep when we arrive. Truth be told our outdoor time today has been of the back and forth to the car type today. We did play a bit in front of Daddy's office while he wrapped things up. And we had a fun hopscotch game while we waited for our fast food dinner mid way to the beach.

But this morning I get up early and go for a little solo walk. Ah, this alone time is so sweet. Getting to see the golden morning light through the trees and just hearing the quiet is a special perk of vacation. Daddy is holding down the fort and I can step out for a moment and remember what it feels like to walk without holding a hand or a coat. I see the Spanish Moss glowing over my head. I walk to the lagoon and watch for birds. There are blue heron here and egrets. But they must be sleeping or busy fishing somewhere else. The water is still and there is no sign of the alligator we saw here last summer. Too cold for him to be out and about.

I love the feeling of four long days stretched out before us. All of us together, no school, no work, just rest and play and enjoy. On the way back I look up and see hugging palm trees. They look just like a mother and child embracing. Time for me to go back inside and get some hugs myself.


February 13

Tomorrow is a big day, yes, it is Valentine's Day and this year both of my girls will be engaging in the time honored exchange of cards at school. My husband is a little bewildered by the tradition but has become used to the American way of making almost everything into a party. He grew up in Italy and in spite of your glowing stereotypes of beauty and great food, which are mostly true, Italians are quite minimalist in many ways compared to Americans. Christmas is not all about the gifts, at Easter kids get one (really good) chocolate egg and Valentine's Day is pretty much just another saint's day.

But we are anticipating something else, vacation!! Just an extra long weekend, but still a chance to get out of town. We will be heading to the beach tomorrow, yippee! So today our outdoor driveway play is dedicated to pretend surfing, pretend swimming, lots of pretend sea life and of course plenty of chasing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Winter Birds

February 12

I need a nap. It is raining, cloudy and I just feel sleepy today. My girls are home from school and we spend some nice snuggle time on the couch watching George get into trouble. Thank goodness they have become accustomed to going outside because today they get off the couch and pull me out the front door. They try the mud with bare feet for about 45 seconds. Then it is back inside to rinse feet and put on fuzzy boots.

We head out again and while they decide who is the wolf and who is the cheetah, I get the mail. I have to admit that I used to get my mail without getting out of my car. I'd pull up, roll down my window, grab the mail and then drive on into my driveway, into my garage and therefore take away another reason to get outside. It became such a habit that I've had to really make myself not stop at the mailbox as we arrive home. No, I think, we will be out here in a bit, I can get the mail then. Interesting, how strong the habits become. And now they have the habit of afternoon play outside. Hallelujah!

While they chase and bike and discuss animals I notice a group of birds sitting in a nearby tree. At least ten of them perched there just waiting. I think how this image of a flock of winter birds will stay with me for the rest of the evening. While I make dinner, give baths, read stories, and sing lullabies I know that I will think back on these birds and smile. It feels like a special moment to see them gathered like this. I have never seen so many all in one tree like this. Maybe it is a common occurrence, but I have just begun to notice.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nature Walk

February 11

It has been raining and it is going to start again. But right now we are on a nature walk and it feels magical her in the woods. My first grader is starting her day inside and my little one and I don our rubber boots and tramp through the mud. My eye catches two perfect drops hanging from a branch. Once I stop and look, I see that all trees are decorated with heavy sparkling beads. My little one looks down so carefully. I think she must see more than I do. I just heard something on the radio about how we train ourselves to filter out things that we see so that we can focus on what we deem important. I'm sure that is helpful and important at times, but I would love to un-learn that skill at moments like this.

"This is my pretend stick," announces my little one, "Follow Me!" She prances through the mud finger held high. "Now you take the pretend stick," she instructs. I hold out my finger and am quickly corrected, "No, up!" she says showing me. I try again and she smiles. We walk together along the muddy trail. We climb over a fallen tree, and stop to look at beautiful pale leaves hanging on from last fall. I notice the tapping and ticking of rain drops starting to fall around us. The branches break their fall and we feel sheltered by the imperfect canopy of bare branches above. We pause and put out our tongues to taste a few drops before heading back to the car.


Biking with Daddy

February 10

My husband has the brilliant idea to go for a run and have our older daughter tag along on her bike. I'm not up for a bike ride today. Little one and I head to the swings. We go through our usual silliness on the swings while we wait for the running/biking team to return. We have a family plan to eventually bike to school in the mornings. Today's run/ride is a training run. Our house is three miles from school. Sidewalks all the way. Down side, a couple of long long hills and one steep one right at the end. Just past the school is a beautiful park with a newly remodeled playground. I'd like to bike there on occasion too. But today there is no pressure. No required destination. Today they are out for fun, if they happen to make it over to the school, great. If not, it is all an adventure.

Star Gazers

February 9

The night is clear and cold. I step out onto the deck and look up. The stars twinkle brightly. This is exciting. We often have so much light in the sky the stars are barely visible, but tonight there they are in sparkling clusters. We all troupe out onto the deck wrapped in blankets. We sit, one daughter on each adult lap, heads tilted towards the sky. We are still for a few moments each lost in thought. My first grader jumps up and stretches her arms above her head, "I'm Orion, that's what he looks like." My little one wants to join in and we help her see Orion's Belt. Then we all stand and adjust our imaginary belts.

When I was a child we slept outside in the summer. Every night I fell asleep looking at the silhouette of  trees and stars slowly moving across the sky. I have long wanted my girls to feel the night sky above while they float into sleep. Tonight we see and feel the sky. It is a good beginning.

Friday, February 8, 2013


February 8

It is the end of the school week. My first grader is tired. But I am determined to get outside during daylight. It was raining earlier in the day so she did not get even her 20 minute recess at school. She looks a little pale to me. We need some fresh air! Out we go to the swings in the backyard. I can tell she is really exhausted because after a few minutes she says she wants to go back in. Usually, just getting out is all that is needed for her to feel energised. I ask her to wait and we move to the garden box to dig for worms. My little one finds one and we look at the pink curling critter for a while before carefully putting him back underground.

"Look at the clouds, they keep moving and changing," says my tired girl. "I know why, it's the wind. Up there, there is more," she continues. We all stop and watch the clouds slowly swirl and shift in the sky. "What makes my hair move?" asks my little one with a twinkle in her eye. She loves to ask me questions and have me not be able to find the answer. "Um, the sun?" I ask. "Nope!" she says triumphantly. I go through a long list of possibilities, or impossibilities, rather. "Hot dogs, shoes, hamsters, lolly pops. . ." I guess. She is thrilled. Finally I pause screw up my face and slowly guess "wind?"  "YES!!!!!!" she shouts offering me a high five. "You got it!!!"

Hearts in the rain

February 7

Why is it dark again? And raining. I've got to get us out here earlier. But my girls don't mind. "No shoes!" announces my little one. Ah, I think, you are so strong. I do love that about you. I nod, pick up her boots and we step out onto the wet cold front step. "Ahhh!" she says trying to pick her little bare feet up off the cold at the same time. I offer her boots, she accepts.

 "Oh, mud!" says my first grader as she heads to her favorite spot. "You're the Mama Wolf," she announces and runs off. Her little sister speeds after her. They run and stand on base. I pretend to not see them and howl at the sky. The flood lights are not on this evening, maybe we are getting used to playing in the dark. The drizzle coats us and I see drips slowly form on my little ones long wild hair.

As we head inside I pause to take a photo of the heart decoration on the door. "Take a picture with me and the hearts," says my little one. "Me too!" joins in my six year old. This is a moment I won't need a photo to remember. My girls, wet and smiling, holding each other and a pair of hearts.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Street lamp

February 6

We seem to be on an evening theme this week. The time after school seems to fly by and suddenly we are having dinner. I look outside and it is getting dark, again! We head out to the driveway and my little one spots the first star. It is a beautiful clear evening and we stand heads tilted back watching as dark descends and a few more stars blink into view. "That's Neptune!" announces my first grader. "Or Venus, it is the brighter one." I love that she is making sense of the night sky. "Where is the South Star?" she asked the other night. I resisted the urge to build a model of the cosmos right then and there and said, "let's take a trip to the planetarium soon."

The bikes come out and we peddle around in circles. I can tell my daughters are tired tonight. There is less shrieking and they just peddle. They don't have the running narrative of imaginative play going. But the fresh air feels good. Even some tired biking is better than not coming out at all. The street lamp comes on and I am reminded of my childhood when my only after school instructions were, "be home by dark." I smile because we are just getting started as the lamps come on. And I am right here, different times.

This morning on the way to school my daughter said, "I feel like the days just flash by. Zip and the day is over." My heart hurts a bit hearing this. I wish that we could live long slow days always. But then I hear her continue, "I think it is because I am having so much fun." Ah, OK that sounds better. I exhale.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Exploring in the dark

February 5

"Mom, lets take the flashilights out and explore in the dark," says my first grader. Yes, let's do, I think. We find the one functioning flashlight, a new lamp type I got reciently after spending a day waiting to be told to go hide in the basement by the TV weather report.

I insist on shoes since it is dark, and on the cold side. They didn't get sick the other night from dancing barefoot in the rain, but I'm still not 100% and I'm not ready for a little foot cut by a stick in the dark. We hit the driveway for a bit but the flood lights are on and the flashlight isn't really needed. I can tell they want to play in the dark. I start to feel silly but then remember that if it were summer we'd have two more hours of daylight and everyone would be out. It's not really that late, it just feels late.

Down we go to the back yard and the exploring begins. We look at grass, and trees. We shine the light into the sky and wonder where it goes. After a time they jump on the swings, the light goes off and they just swoosh through the dark night air. We can see lights on in all of our neighbors houses, each a little world of its own. "Where are the stars?" asks my six year old. Good question I think looking up at the too bright sky. We have a major city nearby and there is so much light we rairly see more than a few stars. Tonight there are also clouds which are lit up from below and kind of glow. I think that we need to go camping. Somewhere with really dark skys and lots and lots of stars. We may have to find cabins, since I'm not sure (OK I'm sure) my husband would not be interested in a tent. City Boy through and through.

The swings stop and my girls do some sliding and climbing. They are so free out here. They play together effortlessly. The complaining, and bickering that comes with sisterhood seems to fall away when we are outside. Maybe tomorrow we will get out here before the sun goes down.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Biking in the dark

February 4

Ok don't think I'm crazy. Yes, it was dark, but the flood lights were on and we were in the driveway. How did this happen? My girls want to play outside, all the time. It's working!! After a month of daily trips out the front door, the back door and the garage door, they finally think to move out of the house and into our outdoor space. We have never used our driveway this much. Ever.

Tonight we come home after a dinner out and darkness has just fallen. "Mom can we pay in the driveway pleeeeeeeeese," pleads my first grader. My little one got a nice hour at the park today but my six year old has been inside all day long (unless you count that 20 minute recess at school). So I run in and turn on the flood lights, stretch the orange saftey netting acrross the end of the driveway and try to get my little on to even consider putting on a coat. My six year old gets on her bike and starts to ride in big circles her little sister running at full speed after her. Maybe she won't need that coat after all. This goes on for minute after minute. Aren't they getting tired, I think. They stop, tell me I'm the Kissing Monster and should chase them with kisses and then begin the circuit again. There is a slow motion fall as my daughter tries to reverse direction. But that's it, they just keep riding and running.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


February 3

I have a love hate relationship with our TV. I was not allowed any as a kid so naturally that is all I wanted to do as soon as I had a chance. I really really want to live with moderation as our guiding principle about things like TV, junk food, and new toys. But . . . it kind of sneaks up on us. With me sick yesterday the screens were on, the kids plugged in, and other than their time playing with ice on the deck, they pretty much watched all day. Today I declare at TV free day. No screens, please don't ask, today we play or get bored, or read, or build a fort out of blankets.

The brigh sunshine calls to us through the windows and we head to the deck. There is a brisk breeze but the sun feels so good we zip up our jackets and start making suds soup. A few drops of bio-degradable dish soap and an old fashoned egg beater and we have mountains of suds. Suds, to scoop, suds to flick into the wind, suds to mould and mix. After a time shoes come off and my girls perch on chairs on either side of the water table with their feet in the sudsy water. They look like ladies waiting for a pedicure. I imagine them fifteen years from now, young women embarked on lives of their own. I think of the impermance of childhood and remember to soak in each day.

Ice Box

February 2

I can not overstate how much I appreciate parenting as part of a team, a partnership and loving couple. I certainly spend quite enough time on my own while my husband is at the office or traveling but I know he is there. I know I have backup. And days like today he is my hero.

I realize that I'm not getting better. My head feels like it has rocks in it and my chest is rumbling with every cough. I know I will now be eligible for the antibiotics prize if I head to the doc. While I am gone my husband takes our girls out to investigate the ice that has formed in the water table overnight. When I get back with prescription in hand they tell me all about the Ice Box they discovered.

"Daddy took out the biggest piece and it was like a box but made of ice," began my first grader almost out of breath with excitement. "Look, look we took a picture for you," she went on. "Then I got a butter knife, and smashed the pieces. It made sparkles everywhere." They took me by the hand and led me to the spot, now a damp blotch, where the ice had been an hour before. "It was a BOX!" reiterated my little one. This was clearly a very exciting discovery. I felt sorry to have missed the fun, but so glad that I could count on my husband to help them have such an adventure in my absence.

Trike for Two

February 1

I did not grow up with siblings. I was a comfortable with adults, only child. So when we decided to have a second child I was a little nervous. I didn't have a road map for this, how could I parent two children when my heart was so full with my first. And how would they get along? What would I do to help them love and enjoy each other?

Fast forward three years and I can say that days like today show me what it is all about. I have realized that love is the secret ingredient. And more love is more love. More family members means more love. Yes, there are conflicts and hard days but I get to learn along the way. I have learned that the way I speak to them is the way they will speak to each other. I have learned that a heart does not have limited space or a finite capacity for love. I have learned that they are teaching each other lessons of patience, sharing, nurturing, and what "annoying" means. And I have learned that I don't have to do anything to help them love and enjoy each other.

We head outside this afternoon and my little one wants to bring her super fab, pink trike. This item arrived at Christmas and has been in use every day since. It is like an extension of her body. If there were an X Games for three year old trike riders, she would be in it. And because I know how much this trike is hers, I am extra gratified to hear her ask her sister to ride along. My older daughter steps on the back and down the driveway they go. Full speed ahead. I am standing watch waiting for a tumble or an out of control race into the street, but out goes a foot and my first grader deftly steers them around the corner onto the font walk. This is high speed, big thrill trike riding! And they are a team. A bright faced, pink nosed team. They ride and ride down the grade, around the bend and onto the front walk, over and over. All I have to do is watch, and be ready with band aids.