Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Toddler in Winter

My botany apprentice and fellow explorer, little h, during a cold, winter morning "hike" along the Missouri River bottomlands in NE Kansas. He's just discovered the largest stick ever in this photo.
Here is what little h found this morning (you can tell he's found something because he shouts it from the rooftops...and if he doubts whether or not you heard him, he'll come grab your hand and lead you to the discovery, or he'll put the discovery really close to your eye so that you can be sure to see it correctly): "tall gass" (tall grass), "cunchy heafs" (crunchy leaves), "rock", "tees" (trees), "bugs", "wet", "sticks", "balls" (berries). I was quite proud of his inventory, and I told him so. Every time I tell him I am proud of him, he smiles wide and says, "powd" :) I don't know if he knows what it means, but he obviously gets the spirit of the word. 

On this day, it is 18 degrees F. The sun is shining brightly and is actually very warm in our heavy coats. There is little to no moisture in the air, and no horses or dogs cross our paths. Alas, it is time to turn around and head back.

I think this is Ilex decidua (Possumhaw holly)...isn't it beautiful?!
I say, "back, this way, please!" and point to the car. At that, a full-on toddler tantrum ensues. Blood curdling screams at the top of his lungs. Goodbye, wild things. Goodbye, quiet. I turn around and start walking. He is rolling in the pathway. Then, in about 5 seconds, it is over. I walk over and pick him up and wipe away his tears. He knows he has to go ("have to?"). And his heart-breaking tears turn into big hugs. As he puts his head to my head (I think that's his new way of saying he's sorry, and it is really adorable), I say, in my soft mom voice, "I know you don't want to go, but you have to mind Momma, all the time, even when you don't want to." And for now, he is okay with this. And I am 99% certain that all of this was really just because he needed a snack.

Appropriately enough, I just read this poem in a book of recommended poetry for toddlers. In it, Lilian Moore accurately compares the willpower of the entire ocean to that of a toddler, and I love it so much I want to frame it :)


I made a sand castle.
In rolled the sea.
            "All sand castles
            belong to me—
            to me,"
said the sea.

I dug sand tunnels.
In flowed the sea.
            "All sand tunnels
            belong to me—
            to me,"
said the sea.

I saw my sand pail floating free.
I ran and snatched it from the sea.
            "My sand pail
            belongs to me—
            to ME!"
~Lilian Moore, from I Feel the Same Way (New York: Atheneum, 1967).

1 comment:

  1. I love the passion of toddlers. It's not always fun to parent them when they're being passionate - but I wish I still had their awe.


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