Monday, April 03, 2006
A walk in the woods
Now that the sun is setting later, accompanied by balmy temperatures, OmegaMom was inspired to haul Dawg and Dotter off for a walk in the woods. "OmegaDotter...Do you want to go for a walk in the woods?" OmegaMom asked. Dawg made no bones about it--he was thrilled at the idea, as he ran back and forth from where his leash is stashed to OmegaMom's feet. OmegaDotter, bouncing up and down, seemed to feel the same way. OmegaMom, mindful of the fickle nature of toddlers and the easy ability to weary quickly, mentally selected a nice flat spot that was once one of her favorites to take an evening walk. The same spot on the dirt road has a rigorous climb to the left and a flat road spur going off to the right; the climb is a favored spot for mountain bikers, and leads to the top of a mesa covered with pines and oaks, very pretty. The lower walk is milder, quieter, and often has wildflowers. OmegaDotter, happily ensconsed (ensconced?) in the car, proudly showed off her new-born ability to fasten the buckles on her safety belt, then demanded that Dawg get in the back seat. Dawg did not comply. We drove off, off our (oooooh!) new pavement and onto the dirt roads which OmegaMom warned dotter were "lumply bumply". OmegaDotter watched and crowed as we drove through mud puddles and bumped this way up and that way down. We located the turnoff, parked the car, Dawg bounded out, dotter struggled out of her straps and buckles and we headed off. "Can we find flowers, Mommy?" "Yes, dear, but I don't think there are any--" Dotter finds dried flowers. "Oooh, look, flowers! Can I pick them, Mommy?" Yes, dotter... We head off down the road, Dawg galloping past and bounding gleefully ahead. Dotter goes barreling after him. OmegaMom mentally notes this behavior and decides to shorten the walk, knowing that Very Soon Now, dotter will proclaim her absolute bone weariness and demand to be carried. There's wet sand in the road. Dotter wants to write her name. Mommy and dotter take turns with a large stick; mommy writes a letter, then dotter writes a letter. "G"s are very hard, and require much coaching. Then it's off again. Dotter calls out, "Mommy! Mommy! You can't catch me!" and dashes off. Mom, wisely conserving energy, merely picks up the pace a tad. Dotter races after Dawg, shouting, "I'm gonna getcha, Dawg!" Poor Dawg, nonplussed, keeps trotting on ahead of her. Dawg stops to do what Dawgs do. "Ewwww! Mommy, what's Dawg doing? Is he peeing, Mommy? Is that how dogs pee?" Dash. Stop. Turn. Shout. Demand to write Mommy's name. Dash. Stop. "Mommy, come after me with your hands doing this!" (Dotter demonstrates the "I'm gonna getcha" hand movement, which looks strikingly like a goose pecking at someone.) Mommy obliges. Pretty soon: "Mooooommy! I'm tired! Let's rest!" So we "rest" on a stump. For dotter, "resting" consists of climbing up on the stump, stomping her feet, peering down, climbing on mommy, demanding to pet Dawg, climbing off, climbing on...you get the idea. Mommy says that it's time to turn around. "AWWWWW!" No buts about it, kiddo. Off we go! Dotter wants to get wet sand for daddy. "Okay, but it has to go in your coat pocket, Dotter!" Dotter packs her coat pocket with wet sand. We move on. Pretty soon: "Moooommy! Can you carry me on your back?!" "Nope--that's why we turned around so soon, sweetie. But I can hold your hand while we walk, is that okay?" A small, warm hand gets thrust into mine, trusting and loving. We walk on. "I like this, Mommy." "What, sweetie?" "The handiness." She swings their hands. Mommy practically melts into a puddle. "I like it, too, sweetie." More wet sand gets stashed in the coat pocket. Muddy hands get mischeivously rubbed on Mommy's jeans and on the back of her jacket. "Ooooh, look! Look, Mommy!" We have arrived at Mama's name written in the dirt. We move on. Soon, it's time to march. "Let's do the ants, Mommy!" Mommy starts singing with Dotter, but, oh, no, that's not permitted. "I'm the small one, Mommy! You go on ahead! But you have to march, to get down into the ground!" We march on. Pine cones, pine needles, dried flowers from last year, mud, wet sand, dawg--all get commented on. Once upon a time, OmegaMom loved walking and hiking in the woods in silence, listening to the wind and the birds and the "plop" of pinecones falling out of trees. This walk in the woods was a totally different sort of love. Last year, OmegaDotter couldn't have handled it. This year, she is full of excitement and dancing and skipping and running, and it is beautiful. Just like her.