After two straight days of playing with a three year old, I’m feeling old and happy. I can’t think of anything I've done in a very long time that I’ve enjoyed more. Mae’s observations about life and her relation to it are fresh and funny. As we walked six blocks to the park, she explained she was a little bit hungry. Could we stop for ice cream? I responded that she’d be even hungrier after playing in the park, so it would be better to wait until after we were done playing.
“But Mae-ma,” she argued, “I’m a LOT hungry now. We need to go to the store BEFORE the park, so I have energy to swing.”
Being a snack junky myself, I had to agree it was a good idea. But I was a little worried that without an ice cream bribe for after the park, it would be difficult to convince her to head home in a timely fashion. While the clerk was heaping a generous scoop of balloon-guy* ice cream (*balloon-guy refers to anything ‘rainbow’ colored) into the cone, Mae looked through the eye-level penny candy bins.
“This is for you after we go to the park,” she said as she selected a sour-pop and handed it to me. “You need energy, too.”
“How about if I save it for after the park,” I suggested. She nodded her approval.
We sat on the porch of the convenience store while Mae licked her cone. I had a spoon provided by the clerk, and periodically skimmed the drips from the outside of the cone. Mae ate the whole thing, other than those few drips. Then we walked the last block to the park. She demonstrated her climbing skills on the jungle-gym, tried out the slide (too straightforward for her liking), and asked me to sit on the other end of the teeter-totter so she could give Tigger and Droopy (her two stuffed favorites who’d bummed a ride in the bag I was carrying) a thrill. She showed me the dog section of the park, but sadly there were no dogs to watch. Then she clamored onto the swing—her favorite thing at the moment—for nearly half-an-hour of joy, shared with Tigger and Droopy.
Finally, we were ready to depart. “Where’s the lollipop?” she asked.
“Oh, it’s here in my bag,” I said and pulled it out.
“Mae-ma, I will help you lick it,” she said with her characteristic switch of ‘w’ for ‘l’. So off we went toward home, wicking our wollypop. And on the way, we sniffed flowers, watched bees collecting pollen from lavender, sat on boulders decorating parking strips, balanced on raised curbs, and tested the feel of gravel by lying down on it.
It was a memorable morning.