Monday, July 31, 2017


Life isn't linear and neither is the evolution of a garden. There will be surprises in both, life and garden.

One surprise this morning is that there seems to be a lot to do outside. Picking spent lilies, I'm counting and the numbers seem high.  (Total for today: 586.)

Never mind -- everything's so beautiful right now: the lilies are mingling with the rest and it is such a happy camaraderie!

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(The cheepers always keep me company for all my morning tasks. Well, two of them do. Henny is still hiding out in the coop. Possibly she is terrified of Scotch, but, too, she is brooding, believing that becoming a mommy will do away with all her problems with acceptance and inclusion.)

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(The Great Bed, still strong, even if it is the last day of July...)

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(The front bed, dainty and playful...)

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View to the yard from our table on the porch...

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And very quickly it's noon and I'm scurrying to the bakery to pick up croissants (for Snowdrop) and cookies (for Ed) and now I am at the little girl's school.

She wears that look of a girl who was let down by a friend. And she was. Oh, to you and me, it's a nonevent, right? Snowdrop walked out with a tiny, really tiny sticker of a bird with a big yellow beak. A classmate, leaving at the same time, reached over to try to pull the sticker from Snowdrop's hand. Snowdrop uttered several words of surprise, but the girl persisted. The mother finally suggested that it might be Snowdrop's turn to play with said sticker. The girl eventually gave up her grip, but the teeny sticker was damaged. Snowdrop's face here expresses her disappointment.

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And now I remember what it's like to care deeply about the way kids treat each other out there on the playground of life. It's not that I think kids are born knowing how to do right by their friends. But if you witness something that you don't think is a good move on the part of your kid, why wouldn't you use this as a teaching opportunity? Why wouldn't you intervene and express dismay?

Oh, I know: it's just a (ripped now) sticker. I've heard the arguments: let the kids work it out. And they will. But I have to say, if I ever saw Snowdrop (or decades earlier my daughters) grab and destroy something precious belonging to another, I would be appalled.

I am so old school in this.

(Snowdrop, at the cafe, contemplating life...)

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(She has a snack. She rebounds.)

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Snowdrop has had a very busy weekend and she is visibly tired. But the pool gloriously revives her.

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(She asks to wear her water shoes in the pool. Sure, little one!)

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Her vim and vigor are restored.

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Later, we drive back to the farmhouse. I tell the little one that the fields are now mostly harvested and stacked into bales of hay. I haven't seen any sandhill cranes this morning. Perhaps they've moved on?

Snowdrop doesn't buy it. Kids have eternal hope and this girl's no different.

And today, she is rewarded: at least two of the graceful birds have returned.

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At the farmhouse. Snowdrop has had such a long day, but she is driven to her babies nonetheless. Ice cream for everyone!

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(Feelings of mommy love...)

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You rarely see that serious look of duty and responsibility on this two year old's face. I'm thinking -- it's so easy just to relish in Snowdrop smiles. But honestly, don't you want your charge to live through her woes and tribulations on your time, so that you can guide her to a better place? Out of deep waters and onto safer terrain?

And the summer sun keeps on shining and the flowers keep on blooming...


  1. Seriously, Nina, stop counting dead daylilies :)

    Hey, I'm with you about the Other Mother who could have taken a teachable moment for socialization. Some parents (my own children included) want their child to be bold without being heedless, assertive without being unkind - sometimes parenting on the fly means walking a fine line.

    And the other Mom said "Give her a turn". Does that imply that the sticker might have belonged to her child in the first place? uh oh :)
    And if they're both two years old... eh.

    Our C says everything is "mine". I said, "Actually this is mine. but I'll share it with you" My son explained to me, in a sweet way, that at her age she doesn't know about ownership, she only knows what she wants. Magical thinking - I want it, therefore it's mine.

  2. Love the cheepers and flower bed scene!

    And of course all the Snowdrop scenes and stories. The "teacher mind" here says the sticker story may be more complicated than we could know... maybe the other girl had the sticker and set it down, intending to come back for it, and Snowdrop not knowing this picked it up... or maybe the other girl though S wanted help getting it off her hand... or maybe not... but probably mom and daughter had a good conversation on the way home. And Snowdrop moved on! Maybe later she told her babies all about it :^)

  3. So cool to have two early childhood educators weigh in!

    To clarify : the sticker belonged to Snowdrop for sure (for what it's worth).

    One more point: a day ago, JoyD, I would have agreed with your son that kids this age do not understand the concept of ownership. But tonight, my son-in-law gave his wife a gift from Snowdrop that was a toy and clearly one she loved. She was told -- "it's mommy's, but she will share it with you."

    All evening long, Snowdrop sought to confirm her understanding of this. She would play with the toy (Calico characters) and ask -- 'it's yours, mommy, right? But you are sharing it?" And then she would alternate with her own characters and ask -- "but these are mine?"
    So kids do get it.

    I think any spunky child will try to test what's what. They want to know which rules are soft, which rules are firm. They want to get a sense of what their obligations are to the rest of the world. So we owe them that much: to clarify and explain, no?

    1. For a fascinating read on how the very young child's mind works, check out an article by Alison Gopnik in the latest Scientific American Special Collection: Mysteries of the Mind... Turns out their minds are a lot more sophisticated than we might think!

  4. Oh, thanks, but I'm not an experienced professional in the field of 2-year olds! though I am, and have always been, a close observer.

    After I wrote to you yesterday, I thought more about "magical thinking", but not in the context of our grandbabies.
    I was thinking of the West Wing. *cringe*


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