Friday, May 19, 2017

a question of time

A kid's memory is fantastic. I remember this from when I was a child: my parents would ask me to remember a bit of information for them. And I would. No problem.

But for a two year old, time is still somewhat of a mysterious thing. Yesterday and today -- fine. Tomorrow -- okay, I guess. But next year? Or even "in a few days" -- what does that mean? How does a toddler measure time?

And just when I think she got the season's straight, this year's spring mixes it all up for us: one day it's summer out there, the next day it's like winter's end. Perhaps I exaggerate, but today's high is 40 degrees (or some 23 degrees in C) colder than two days back.

Breakfast on the porch? Forget it. A Snowdrop playtime in the sandbox? Not if I can avoid it. And the sprinkler? Ha! Don't even think it.

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(With cloudy skies and colder temps, the new wave of flowers remains tightly shut for now. This is when you really appreciate annuals...)

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It's Friday, so I do a light grocery shopping. "Light" because I'm going away Sunday. Here's the deal: the four of us -- Snowdrop, her parents and I -- are flying out together for a short vacation. Oh, the young parents have far more on their plate than I do. They need to pack for three, get the house/cat sitter in place, attend to their work deadlines.  Me, I had to finish planting the yard. Now, I just need to zero in on how to pack well for the trip. A piece of cake? Typically yes, but this time, I have Snowdrop on my mind.

When I pick up the little one at school, her teachers already know that she is headed for a vacation, possibly because she says every other minute "I'm going to Paris!"

She skips out of school joyously. Paris is not such a distant memory: it's been kept alive for her with a photo book and with Gaga's somewhat frequent references to that city (to give me credit, I talk about other cities as well).

But she is obviously disappointed when I tell her that we're not going to Paris right now. Not tomorrow either, Snowdrop. The day after.

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To add to her disappointment, I tell her that a walk in the neighborhood is not a great idea. It's raining, it's cold and I need to buy panties!  -- three good reasons! She understands all three, but still, she loves her neighborhood walks after school.

Me, I dislike malls and the older I get the more I dislike them. And perhaps my low enthusiasm for them is evident, because she is subdued as I take out the stroller for her in the parking lot of Madison's largest shopping complex.

I didn't really think Snowdrop would love picking out adult panties, even if some turn out to have colorful pineapples on them. She isn't very excited about stopping at the kids' clothing store either (where I finally purchase a sweater to keep for her at the farmhouse, because, well, the girl loves sweaters).

I asked her then if she would like to walk around a little.
You just want to stay in the stroller?
Can I go see the train?

I can't think what she means by that. To my knowledge, her last trip here was in the winter, possibly with me. Was there some train displayed for the Christmas season?

As I push her down the long mall walkway, I look up to see before me exactly what she means: the play area for kids, where there indeed is a train of sorts. I didn't remember it, but she did.

The girl is thrilled.

The place is noisy, full of careening kids -- ones that in my mind should be in school because they seem that age already -- and Snowdrop does not want to lose sight of me (I basically act as a guard against out of control youngsters), but she is very happy to be finally riding that train!

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Shopping done, I am now just anxious to get back to the farmette. Snowdrop checks out all aspects of the play area but she does not protest when I then direct her to the stroller and eventually the car.

At the farmhouse, there isn't much time for extensive play. I can leave you with one photo -- it is nearly the same as what you would have seen here yesterday and the day before. The weather has changed, the week has moved on, but this book is still her favorite and because it has many children and babies in it, she always reads it with her own baby.

Don't you think your baby should have a name? You once agreed that Annie is a nice name.
Her name is baby, Gaga.

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Okay, Snowdrop.

Evening. It is Snowdrop's last moment at the farmhouse for a number of days.
You want some watermelon with ahah?
Yes. It has water. Can I drink it?

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Can we dance polka now?

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It is exactly at this moment that her parents arrive to take her home.

Ed and I eat a supper of farmhouse favorites: asparagus, mushrooms, eggs, lightly smoked salmon, with a huge salad of greens on the side.

A cold day, a warm day... It's all in how you look at it. And Sunday (that's in two days, well no, actually one day, Snowdrop!) we'll be on our way.