Spring is in the Air

Yesterday, Marko met a little girl and apparently they hit it off quite nicely, because he came over to me to say "I'm going with my friend, mom, BYE!" before running off to the field with her. They played some kind of game that involved picking dandelions and running around and rolling in the grass. I'm guessing his friend was about 4 and I would have loved to hear their conversation, but I was trying to give him some space.

The playground after school on a nice day is a mob of kids, babies to fifth grade. The kids are delighted to break all the normal recess rules for the playground equipment and therefore perform death-defying tricks, launching themselves off the top of the slide and dangling on the outside of the play structure. The parents don't notice, or pretend not to. Nobody wants to be a helicopter parent. It's a really great set-up, actually, with a wide, gently sloped lawn out front. The whole block is fenced. There are shade trees and little bushes that the kids disappear into.

And this is Pittsburgh, so on a nice day, people have a real appreciation for the good weather. And if the weather is not so nice, we sort of pretend that it's better than it is, and pull our jackets tighter, or ignore the rain drops until the last possible moment.

I'm looking forward to summer, and being home with both kids. The longer I stay at home I realize the need to be a little organized and to at least have a loose schedule or plan. We have a museum pass and I'm going to get a pool pass. I think we'll spend a lot of time on the bike trail and looking for good climbing trees. I want Laurel to stay in touch with her buddies from school, so I'm going to set up some play dates for her. I think I would also like the kids to engage in some sort of service. When I was a kid, my dad used to take us to a nursing home and we did crafts and exercise classes with the patients.



Last week, my mom took Marko to her house for an overnight visit. I cut my foot badly enough to need a few stitches and was having a little trouble walking, and therefore keeping up with a busy two year old. That night, M and I had dinner at home with Laurel. Nobody screamed, we talked about our days in fully formed sentences, and at the end of the meal, there was no food on the floor.

Every so often I get a glimpse of what it will be like once our family is passed the young children phase. When they are little, so much of the day feels like treading water. You cannot see where you are headed, just stay afloat as best you can.

On Sunday we went for a bike ride, with Laurel riding solo for the first time on the trail. Bike riding has turned out to be an unexpectedly sentimental experience for me to witness. It feels like such a transitional milestone. When I think of kids riding bikes I remember my own experience as a kid, how it expanded my range out our backyard. I now have this very vivid image in my mind of the back of Laurel's head. As if from this point on, she will be moving ever-further away from me.

Of course, once we saw how awesome she was doing, we immediately began scheming about overnight trips on the GAP this summer.