Saturday’s Golden Minutes and Hours

In the morning Dom took Bella with him and went to buy a lawn mower. Oh she’ll go anywhere with him, even the hardware store is a grand adventure. They also stopped by the Indian grocery where they found some frozen samosas (Oh I’m so excited!).

Sophie saw them putting on jackets and shoes preparing to go out and immediately crawled for the front door to join them. When I intercepted her and told her we weren’t going, she began to fuss. So I popped her into a sweater and hat and found some socks and we went out front to take another look at the crocuses.

The ground was fairly dry so I sat down with her in my lap at the edge of the flower bed and pointed at the pretty purple and white blooms. Soon I set her down on the grass and let her begin to explore. She picked at dry leaves and blades of grass, small twigs and clumps of dirt. She lunged for a crocus that had escaped the bed and was blooming in the lawn and I cautioned her to be gentle with the flower but let her touch the petals.

Bella joined us for a minute and then Dom put her into the car and they drove off. Sophie joined me in waving to them; she’s just mastered the art of waving bye-bye this week. And then she resumed her explorations. She got quite adventuresome and set out across the grass when I pointed out a pair of squabbling robins in the neighbor’s yard. But when a car came down the road she scurried back to me and safety.

We said hello to a neighbor walking a pug and to a girl riding a bike and listened to the birds singing and the bees humming and enjoyed being outside in the sun. Then we had lunch and Sophie took her nap.

Bella and Dom came home from the store and Dom told me his mother and sister Evy (and her four kids) were going to come down for an unplanned visit. Spring seems to be inspiring everyone with the urge to get out and be sociable. We decided to make pasta and meatballs and a green salad.

Bella went down for her nap. I folded laundry and then sat in the sun out back while Dom made meatballs. When Sophie woke I took her outside where she immediately began picking up rocks and dirt and getting thoroughly muddy in the space by the back door. She was a bit upset by the mud at first and so I wiped her off and relocated her to a blanket further from the house on the dryer grass. But soon she crawled off the blanket and headed back to the step and the mud. This time she didn’t seem squeamish at all. I had to stop her from eating some rocks but otherwise I quashed all my fastidious qualms about mud and dirt and and let her explore. She had a great time picking up rocks and piling them on the step and even learned how to crawl up the step and into the house.

Bella was still sleeping when everyone arrived. Fortunately the kids (aged 8, 6, 4, & 2) were able to go out back and entertain themselves on Bella’s swing set. Our last two residences haven’t had much in the way of entertainment for the nieces and nephews and I’ve always felt a little guilty about that. Bella soon woke and joined them running around, chasing a ball, playing with the new garden rakes and trowels that Grandma bought, and picking up earthworms.

My sister-in-law, Evy, brought a huge bag of baby boy clothes for me. She parted with them reluctantly, her only boy is 4, and I can’t blame her. Oh I am so in love with all the little blue outfits!

Grandma also brought beautiful matching Easter dresses for the girls, and some gardening supplies for me: a new hat, some gloves, and an angel to hang on the shed and watch over the yard. The hat is almost exactly like one I almost bought but didn’t last year because it was a bit pricey.

But of course the best present wasn’t the clothes or toys, it was having a bunch of laughing cousins running in the yard with Bella and playing with Sophie in the living room and crowded around the table for dinner. It was a chance to sit and chat with family and to laugh and eat and enjoy having company and remarking on how everyone has grown and to hear stories and tell stories, to entertain and be entertained by good company.

i was putting Sophie to bed as everyone left—actually she was just in her diaper, she always loves having a bit of playtime before I put on her pjs—and I brought her back out to say goodbye. She crawled for the front door when it was opened, ignoring the cold breeze on her bare body and desperate to get back outside. But I told her she’d have to wait for another day to continue her explorations. (Unfortunately not today, it’s cold and very rainy.)

All in all it was a delightful day. I am so looking forward to many many more long golden days of spring and summer with friends and family and plenty of laughter in the sun.

8 Responses to Saturday’s Golden Minutes and Hours

  1. Charlotte March 29, 2009 at 6:33 am #

    You might be surprised. Librarians can be very forgiving when it comes to children’s books. We took back one that had been ripped accidentally. I was worried and nervous about it and offered to pay for it. They were not concerned at all!

    I have always found that having a separate, designated space for coloring activities helps in distinguishing it from other activities. When my big kids were little, we used to have a cheap little plastic table (from the $ store) that was called the “Color Table” and that was the only place that coloring was done. Library books were kept in a pretty little basket in a separate location back then. Now, we use a giant wicker box!

  2. The Bookworm March 30, 2009 at 2:51 am #

    Our library also makes allowance for accidental colouring and tearing on books for younger children – they see it as inevitable collateral damage. At least crayons are better than scissors. The first I knew that Star had mastered scissors was when she sliced up a book of Angel’s.

  3. Melanie Bettinelli March 29, 2009 at 7:34 am #

    I like the idea of a coloring table but the implementation might be difficult. We have a small table, but it’s at the height where Sophie can get to it and Sophie eats crayons and markers and distresses Bella when she’s trying to color there so that’s not really a viable option.

    Also, I wonder how hard it will be after so long of roaming at will with the crayons for Bella to get used to new restrictions.

  4. Heather Price March 31, 2009 at 10:08 am #

    I’m paranoid about the crayons. I still keep a bucket on top of the fridge, and the other kids know—Louie will “taste the rainbow! Get the crayons!”

    And the scissors are still out of reach, and to this date we haven’t had any self-haircuts. Yet.

  5. Melanie Bettinelli April 1, 2009 at 1:07 am #

    I’m probably not paranoid or vigilant enough. Bella has been such an easy child, generally respectful of rules and boundaries and hardly ever gets into things she shouldn’t. I have a feeling Sophie isn’t going to be so laid back.

  6. Martha April 2, 2009 at 9:26 am #

    My now 9 year old colored and cut EVERYTHING.  There is not a wall in this house he did not color.  He was very indignant when he found me trying to scrub the ink out of my bedspread that he had colored. (My map!!  he said.)  It is very hard to keep ALL writing implements out of children’s reach for 3 years.  smile  He has been taking art classes for the past 4 years now.  I can look back at it now and laugh… even though my furniture still bears the scars of his creativity.

  7. Judy April 2, 2009 at 5:30 am #

    I don’t know if it will work at your house, but when Meghan (10 months) recently pulled up and feasted on the crayons on Matthew’s (age 4) low “school table,” I got a cup and a tray and made a coloring activity for him. Now when Matthew wants to color, he gets the tray (with scrap paper or coloring book already on it along with the cup of crayons) and takes it to a high table to work on.  I’m more conscious of him working with the crayons because he’s at the table—a good thing considering he recently colored on his bedroom wall, something he has never done and I thought he was now too old to do—and Meghan can’t reach him there. I proposed the idea as a way to keep Meghan safe. He is very interested in protecting Meghan, so this was a successful approach to help him get over the inconvenience of having to put the tray back on the higher bookshelf each time he colors. (We’re still working on that putting-away habit…)

    If you haven’t already gotten the marker off your rocker, you might try a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to take the permanent marker off. Be careful not to use too much because it might mar the finish, but I have gotten permanent marker off of many things (wallpaper, hardwood floors) using rubbing alcohol. Another thing you might try is Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It took the colored pencil and crayon off Matthew’s wall. I don’t know if I would be brave enough to try it on the page of a book, but on wallpaper, it worked wonders.

    I have to keep telling myself to enjoy these years. My mother-in-law keeps reminding me that someday far too soon our house will be far too quiet and far too clean. grin

  8. Melanie Bettinelli April 2, 2009 at 9:40 am #

    Actually the marker was on the fabric arm of the rocker not on the wood, more’s the pity. The black really shows on the sage green. I don’t think the fabric is removable. Any advice on a surface cleaner for fabric?

    I’m working on how to implement the idea of only coloring at the big table. Right now all the crayons, markers, etc are in a big plastic zipper bag with handles that she got from Grandma in Texas. Which was a handy travel bag for the plane trip back but now she really wants to carry it all over the house. I don’t think the keeping Sophie safe idea will grab her so much as keeping them away out of her reach.

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