Sandbagging


Yesterday morning was an absolute blur of errands, including meetings with catering-type people who necessitated keeping four tiny people relatively quite for multiple half-hour stretches.  By the time the last errand was completed, I was worn out and only too willing to treat the tribe to a nice Wegmans lunch; Bugaboo and Mr. Man are pizza hounds, and Beanie is a sucker for vegetable roll sushi.  I have a serious weakness for their summer rolls, myself.  After we dropped off some tasty beverages for Daddy at his workplace, we motored home and tucked into some tasty provender.  Baby Guy was slightly dismayed that his lunch included only formula and rice crackers; he kept reaching for Beanie’s sushi, and I’ll admit that I was tempted to let him have some.

Lamentably, Mr. Man fell asleep in the van on the way home, which negated the possibility of his taking a nap of any significant length.  I wish I could sleep for 5 minutes and have enough energy to power a small city for eight hours, but it seems to be a talent that is peculiar to toddlers.  He and Baby Guy did, however, manage to snooze for about 45 minutes, which meant that I got to play “lump on the couch” for half an hour and the ladies got to catch an episode of Strawberry Shortcake.  By then, it had become apparent that we were being treated to another warm January afternoon, so three little bundles of excitement tumbled out the back door and into the yard, pursued, as usual, by their faithful canine guardians.

Baby Guy decided to have his bottle at a leisurely pace while his siblings throughly checked the yard to make sure all of their playthings were still there.  I watched their exploration through the boys’ window, enjoying the warm sunshine on my face and teasing Baby Guy for being a little slowpoke.  After giving him a quick “nosie,” I looked up and saw NO children in evidence.  Heard children, yes, but I could not see them.  More precisely, what I heard was Bugaboo giving orders in her very best, “I’m the oldest” voice.

Then I heard the giggles, a trio of them, laughter that carries that particular note of, “I don’t know whether Mommy’s going to like this, but it sure is fun,” that generally means I need to remember the sequence of the first ten numbers before I react.  I leaned forward in the rocking chair to gain a slightly better vantage point, then waited.

My wait was brief, and ended with Baby Guy letting me know that my mouth was hanging open by attempting to pull himself up by grabbing my bottom teeth.  What to my wondering eyes should appear but three small children (Bugaboo, the eldest and biggest, stands 40 inches tall and weighs about 35 pounds) hauling a fifty pound bag of play sand about 100 feet across the yard to their sand table.  Smudgie had helpfully opened the bag for them (and scattered a mouthful of sand before he realized it was not tasty), but that bag did not hit the ground until they reached the table.  All three of them moved at Mr. Man’s speed, the girls on each end, Mr. Man in the middle, and when they reached their destination, they took turns using shovels, plastic train cars, and a little plastic boat to scoop out their prize.

I was floored.  These are three children who literally come to blows at least once every two hours over possession of some plaything.  I have seen two of them gang up on a third, but this was the first time I had seen all of them work together for a common goal.  It may seem absurdly mundane to some, being thrilled over a trio of kids carrying a big bag of sand, but seeing them all working together instead of one of them claiming sole ownership of a highly desirable object was a marvelous thing to behold.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, we have tried so hard to teach Your blessings that work and play are much better when they’re shared.  Thank You for showing me that they really are paying attention.  It was a great gift to see the bigger children patiently accept the limitations of the smallest child, and to share happily in both the labor and its reward.  Please remind us, Lord, that we can always find help in bearing our blessings and our burdens, from You and from each other, and that including the least of our brothers and sisters in all things brings its own joy.

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