We met Nonno and Deedaw at the mall today; the tribe always loves to visit there, as the playpark generally offers a whole host of other tiny people with whom they can romp, particularly on days when the predominant weather feature is a torrential morning rain. It was with no small amount of sadness that we noted Bugaboo, who is nearing the height limit for the playpark, is also nearing the enjoyment limit. As the play equipment is definitely geared towards the two- and three-year-old set, she still runs a lap or two around it, making sure not to miss a slide or a climber, but after about five minutes, she shuffles back to where we stand with Baby Guy in the stroller, and asks if it’s time for lunch.
Fortunately for the cause of domestic harmony, the playpark was replete with over-the-size-limit ruffians today, which resulted in even our rough-and-tumble Beanie wishing for a quick departure from the land of polystyrene butterflies, bridges, and trees. Since everyone, including Nonno and Deedaw, was in the mood for lunch, we headed for Wendy’s, our favorite mall food joint. Not only are all the adults passionate about their burgers, but we also love their kids’ meal toys, which generally encourage creative play instead of repetition of lines from a movie. We ended up with a total of four today, since Nonno wanted a burger and a small drink and I wanted fries. It’s funny how those things work out sometimes.
I grinned when I presented Nonno with the kid’s meal bag. Daddy and Deedaw were at the table with the four kids, so Nonno and I got to sit back and enjoy the fireworks. We also got to check out “his” toy.
I wish we had brought the camera to the mall, because I don’t think I’ll ever forget Nonno, after we made a close inspection of the little gadget and discussed the physics of reflectivity, surreptitiously winkling the wee pencil loose and lightly tracing the reflection of the planet. His tracing was, alas, so light that I couldn’t get a decent photograph.
After lunch, we headed for JCPenney to find Easter finery for our tribe, plus our nephew (who is almost exactly halfway between Mr. Man and Baby Guy in age). The three boys in question each has his first proper suit, although I suspect we will dispense with the little clip-on ties; the girls exercised their customary good taste, and each was allowed to select her own puffy Easter dress. They also talked Deedaw into purchasing coordinating purses and hats. I have no idea where they get their fashion sense (it’s definitely not from me), but their tastes run to the modest, feminine, and exquisitely accessorized. You’ll have to wait until Easter for those pictures, as we have locked outfits away from the perils of small, grimy hands.
Later in the day, after naps, a little Smile of a Child, a proper romp in the muddy yard, dinner, and baths, we gave the kids their pre-bedtime snack and let them loose with the little projects each had received at Wendy’s. Nonno was the only one who got the magic tracing folio. Beanie got a monster-making kit, complete with craft clay.
The creatrix in her laboratory.
The theme from “Weird Science” was inexplicably playing in my head.
Mr. Man and Bugaboo each received a Colorforms-type toy, and they had a terrific time using the decals to change the appearances of the little people in the frames.
Mr. Man insisted on trying to feed his pirate goldfish cookies.
While creative mayhem was unfolding in the kitchen, I was in the living room with Baby Guy, wistfully watching his last hurrah with the exercise saucer that has entertained all four of our children. He is now crawling proficiently enough that he doesn’t really want to be in it any longer, so tomorrow, I’ll clean it and send it on to another family who has a need for it. As much as we would like to add a fifth tiny person to our tribe, the Lord seems to be calling us in a different direction now.
After we tucked in two very sleepy boys, Daddy and I came back upstairs to honor our promise of allowing the girls to play with a newly-acquired treasure — a box containing two hundred brand new crayons. I believe he was nearly as excited as the girls. Since I have the artistic talent of your average walnut, my role in this enterprise was to make sure the paper supply was ample and that no tiny people fell off chairs.
They had a blast. Bugaboo set to drawing fairies and flowers, while Beanie decided to see how many different colors she could imprint upon her paper. Both girls decided that paper hula skirts were in order, and set about brilliantly coloring their big pieces of paper. Unfortunately, the paper in question was not of a size conducive to making skirts, even for little girls, so I suggested they make hula skirt hats, instead.
The idea was a hit.
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for the ordinary days we spend doing ordinary things with Your blessings. You have taught us that it is right for us to rejoice in even the simplest tasks, to delight in time spent with family, to celebrate the life You have given us when we mark the little everyday passages. Thank You for children who find greater happiness with their parents, some paper and crayons than with all the technologically advanced entertainments they have available to them. Help us teach them that no device, no matter how impressively engineered, substitutes for time spent lovingly with family.