I put a nature documentary on Netflix for the kids as I cleaned the living room this morning. My daughter was enthralled with "Microcosmos," a film showcasing the beauty and diversity of the arthropod world. She sat in front of it yelling to me to look at the lady bug, or the bee, or the caterpillar, asking what a butterfly was doing or why the spider was wrapping the grasshopper in silk. Our shared interest made me smile, and I sat with her to talk about ants and aphids.
We spent time together in the rocking chair. My son drifted into a nap as my daughter and I sang "Row, Row, Row Your Boat", replacing the lyrics with various animal sounds and words we made up. Then we went imaginary fishing. We would bait our hooks, toss them into the sea and wait. Evelyn would look at me with anticipation before shouting, "I got a bite!" and we'd reel in our fishes. We'd talk about what our fishes looked like, and then I'd ask her what we do with them now. "We eat it," she said with a smile as she gobbled up her purple, blue, white and green fish. Her Papa would be proud.
Then we went to play outside. There was a storm last night, and it managed to leak through the lid of the sand box. The water was roughly three or four inches above the sand, and the sudden appearance of a beach in our backyard was deeply engrossing. My son stomped his feet and burst into hysterical laughter at the water splashed up in his face before he'd plop down on his little butt and grab handfuls of wet sand. Every time he made a major movement, he would look to me with this scrunched up smile, and then stomp some more.
As they were playing in their watery oasis, I sat in a lounge chair. I watched the clouds move, I pet my dog as she laid in the grass next to me, I read a book. I smiled as my children got filthy in a glorified puddle without caring one bit about the sand stuck to their clothes. A dark cloud started moving fast across the sky, and we hustled inside minutes before a brief but intense rain began to fall.
They sat in the bathtub with a silence just long enough to listen to the rain hit the window as I rinsed sand from their faces. I spiked August's hair into a temporary mohawk, and Evelyn told me a story about an imaginary time when she wore her hair like that and went camping.
After dinner, we went outside. Evelyn worked on her pedaling skills as she sat atop her tricycle. Gus was content to be pushed in his Cozy Coupe and repeat "Beep beep!" as I ran up and down the sidewalk, our dog joyfully running along with us.
"Mom, wait! I saw something!" Evelyn said as she hopped off her tricycle. On the sidewalk was a worm twisting its body around, lost. We moved it into the tree lawn, and, content with the worms safety, she hopped back on top of her tricycle and tried again.
Bedtime wasn't easy, but it never is. It wouldn't be a night in our house without my son sitting on my lap and singing his ABCs with me instead of sleeping. In the dark of his bedroom, we laughed heartily together as he poked my nose and said his letters in his own special way. A, B, She, D, E, Ep, G, Aysh.
I'm now laying in bed with a fan blowing on my face, listening to the crickets filling the night with their beautiful song. It's been a good day.