I believe that “wild things” day would have held far more laughter had the weather been slightly more cooperative — and had Bugaboo not decided, according to my husband, to wake up at 2 a.m. and play until around 4 a.m. Heavy rain and a tired, cranky preschooler tend to put a damper on our plans.
At any rate, yesterday was CSA pickup day, so the tiny people awoke greatly excited about the prospect of frolicking around the farm for a couple of hours, looking for wild things and just playing in the fresh air and sunshine with whatever new friends happened to be there with their parents. Bugaboo and Beanie were the first to peer out the window and understand that the likelihood of a farm play day was pretty low, but they gamely persevered in their attempts to convince me that it would be a fine day to cavort there if only they wore their galoshes and raincoats. After I explained to both girls how horribly unfair that would be to Baby Guy (who does not walk yet), and also discourteous to the nice farmer who might not appreciate having his grounds damaged by rambunctious small people in galoshes, I thought I mollified them by explaining that they would be welcome to don their rain gear and enjoy the mud in our own back yard when we returned from retrieving our farm box.
We read “Where the Wild Things Are” over breakfast, and I explained to them that we could make a game of spotting wild things on our way to and from the farm. Wild things, we decided, could be birds, animals, insects, or plants, and if someone spotted a wild thing but did not know its name, a description would do. During a lull in the rain, we splashed up the front steps and into the van, chattering as we went over which of the things in our front yard were wild and which ones were cultivated. Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man all agreed that while the peonies, which are definitely cultivated, may be the prettiest part of our yard, their favorites are the dandelions and buttercups, because they can pick as many of those as they wish. All the signs for a fun, if abbreviated by the weather, outing were present, and I heaved a sigh of relief as I backed out of the driveway.
As we drove, we managed to spot several species of birds, including swallows, robins, and a huge raven, wild-growing trees of many kinds, wild grasses, and wild flowers, including cornflowers, goldenrod, and Queen Anne’s lace. A fly had somehow entered the van with us, and Beanie excitedly informed me that it, too, was a wild thing, and that the mosquitoes that bit her arm the previous day were wild things, wild things she did not like. As we approached the farm, though, Bugaboo renewed her campaign for playtime in the big play area at the farm, and was repeatedly met with the reasons it would be not only unfeasible, but also unfair to her youngest sibling (Mr. Man joined in Bugaboo’s campaign, wheedling, “Fahm pease?” to punctuate her every attempt).
Proverbs 15:30-31 kept coming to mind about then, to wit: “A cheerful glance brings joy to the heart; good news invigorates the bones. The ear that listens to salutary reproof is among the wise.” I was working on those cheerful glances, but the steady whine from the back of the van, somewhat like the high-pitched whining drone of a big swamp mosquito, was starting to wear on me; I was thinking an awful lot about that “reproof” part as I loaded our veggies and eggs into the van.
Since the rain was still sullenly waiting inside the clouds when we left, we detoured to a local big-box store on the way home to restock our dwindling supply of milk and diapers, and to select some Mother’s Day cards for the gaggle of grandmothers. Picking out cards with the kids is usually a lot of fun; while each child makes a card for each grandmother, too, all the grandmas are fans of products by the Hallmark company, so we make the effort. Singing cards, glittery cards, cards with pop-up surprises and magnets — it’s generally a guarantee of at least fifteen minutes of fun in the greeting cards aisle. Mr. Man requires close supervision, because he would like to procure one of each card design, but Beanie and Bugaboo are very good about carefully inspecting, then replacing the cards that interest them, without damaging them. Baby Guy likes the music and sound ones.
The girls are usually able to agree on at least one card. Not so yesterday; every time Beanie even smiled at a card, Bugaboo promptly exclaimed, “That one’s just not right! We can’t give THAT to Grandma/Deedaw/Nana!” After the seventh or eighth such rejection, Beanie started to cry, and I advised Bugaboo that since she didn’t like any of the cards, she could stand on the other side of our cart and Beanie could choose them with help from Mr. Man. Beanie and Mr. Man were thrilled to be charged with such an awesome responsibility, and within three minutes, had selected three very pretty cards, all of which play music. Bugaboo, not having internalized that a little kindness would go a long way, grumpily looked at the greetings and announced, “I don’t like any of them. They’re all ugly.”
I finished our shopping very quickly. Bugaboo got another disappointment when I told her, in response to her inquiry, she was welcome to select any sandwich filling she liked, but that we were not stopping at the fried foods counter for lunch, to which proposal she replied, “I just won’t get anything, then. You just don’t want me to have anything I like.”
I could describe the rest of the next two hours until I sent Bugaboo to her room, where she slept for half the afternoon, but I’d rather just show the pictures of the fun things Beanie, Mr. Man and I did with wild things. It amazes me that a child who is asked six times if she needs a nap will angrily respond, “NO!” each time, but when sent to her room because she’s being so unpleasant that I need a break from her, will immediately fall asleep.
Today’s prayer: Lord, Your blessings are gifts from You, and I do my best to love and cherish them, to raise them in Your ways and to seek always Your face. Please grant me the patience and wisdom to discipline when I must, but to prayerfully reflect at the end of each day upon the example of Your love I have set for them with my words and actions. Please bless me with the grace of clear vision to see my own thoughts, words, and deeds through Your eyes, and to seek counsel from other wise parents who walk in Your ways when I am uncertain. And, Lord, if I’ve done it right, please still my mind and calm my heart.