Today I had a lot of things on my “to do” list. I start a new job on Wednesday and things are piling up around the house that need to be taken care of. Now, of course, this doesn’t mean I don’t have ample time to play Algerian Patience Solitaire on Facebook, just that I had a lot of things to do that made me feel like I needed to look productive. Sitting at a computer, even while playing solitaire, makes me feel productive. Part of the problem is the damn name of the game– “patience” I NEED patience. This game is good practice. Besides, an active mind staves off Alzheimer’s and I need all the help I can get. I’m starting to walk into the room saying to Dear Husband, “Oh, one more thing before I forget…” And it’s gone. Just like that. Like smart streamline programs that work on a PC, my thought is nothing more than Vaporware. And, given that we just lost our health insurance (temporarily hopefully), I consider the game to be medicinal in nature.
Something that DOESN’T make me feel productive is taking a walk. Oh, it’s nice and all–especially when I can get a good pace going and my mind can wonder and ruminate on story ideas. But not the kind of walks I take with The Baby.
The weather was beautiful and we’d just finished reading a book once seven times when The Baby put her fat little hands on my cheeks and said, “Mama, walk,” and proceeded to push me towards the front door. How could I say no? Okay, a walk, then. It’s a beautiful day for a walk.
I went to get the stroller out of the car when The Baby replied, “No, walk,” and crossed her arms in front of her chest. Really? I’m going to have ANOTHER one of those?
So, in the interest of choosing my battles, we walked.
The Baby has also learned to talk. She thinks that she is speaking English but she’s not. That fact that few people no how to translate her language, doesn’t, in the slightest, prevent her from having conversations with us. Luckily, I can usually tell from her inflection and hand gestures when she’s asking a question and can reply correctly if I say, “Okay.” I mean, who doesn’t like to be agreed with, right?
Even though she does have the banter down, her walking leaves a little to the imagination. While she no longer walks as though she should be carrying a whiskey bottle in her hand, her walks are rather random. She goes left, she goes right. She stops and cocks her head like a small dog contemplating a command. She points to things and tells me what their names are in her language. She stops. A lot. Which means I don’t get the walk where I can actually try to say that I got exercise.
You’re not paying attention.
Today we found it necessary to greet every single flower that we came across. Every single flower. She would lean over and sniff the petals and say, “Prity” for almost every blossom. The yellow ones appear to be her favorite, although she was quite fascinated by a thistle. She would touch it and say, “Ouch,” let go, look at her hand and then do it all over again. Like FIVE times. When she finally decided it was time to move 10 feet forward, The Baby found it necessary to say goodbye to each of the flowers she’d already greeted. And when we got far enough away, she needed to stop and wave.
We also needed to inspect the street. Apparently The Baby thinks our tax dollars are being well-spent because she seemed very pleased with the quality of the roadwork in our neighborhood. Did you know that there are tiny shiny things mixed in with the road. There are also these ribbons of black “ooh” (her word, not mine) that are “neat” and fun to push with your finger.
As we were rounding the corner, her eyes got huge as she saw a “train” coming down the street. I was under the impression it was actually a garbage truck and told her so, but apparently I was incorrect. It was a train. We had to stop and watch the “train” pick up the trash cans beside each house. Her eyes and mouth were in perfect circles as she watched the metal arm pick up a can, lift it into the truck and place it back on the curb. I remember when I was quite young–no more than four or five and we lived on a street where the garbage truck would turn to go up the road right in front of our house. It’s been 20 30 okay, okay, 37 years since I watched them from my bedroom window with my baby sister sitting next to me, but I can still remember it like it’s yesterday. The garbage men (back before we needed to be politically correct and call them sanitation engineers) would pick up the cans and toss the contents into the back of the truck. Then they’d push a button and I would watch the “mouth” of the truck scoop up the trash and eat it.
These are what memories are made of.
After the train continued past us, The Baby decided that the acorns needed to be in the storm drain. She would walk around, picking them up one at a time and drop them, one at a time, into the drain. She also found it immensely important to say, “uh oh” after each one. Our walk was taking a really long time and was about to get a lot longer.
The Baby saw IT.
IT was a huge pile of leaves sitting on the curb, awaiting pickup. Watching her expression of utter, unbelievable joy made me want to take every age-appropriate, brain-boosting, educationally enhanced toy out of our living room and replace them with autumn leaves. She stomped on them. She kicked them. She threw them on her hair. She rolled in them. I resisted the thought about how many dogs had peed in them (please God, let it just be pee). She stomped some more. She kicked some more. And rolled some more. And I resisted the urge to wonder how long we’d been walking and how much “stuff” I could have been doing around the house.
She patted the ground with her hand, which is baby for “sit down here next to me.” And I did. And we sat on the edge of a street that had sparkly flecks it it, next to some flowers that were ‘prity,’ listening to the leaves crunch under our feet. The Baby pointed to the sky and said, “bird” and I agreed completely, thinking, “it really doesn’t get any better than this.”
This is what the baby taught me today.