Still Cool to Some

There’s been much anticipation the past few days of unseasonably warm temperatures here in Minnesota. Around the office, it was a frequent topic of conversation. “Got any plans for Saturday? Are you going to get outside and enjoy the warm weather?”

The news first reported predictions of fifty, and then they hinted at fifty-three. In February! In Minnesota! I heard that if we saw fifty-five degrees, we’d be breaking some weather record set years ago. When all was said and done, the day saw nearly sixty degrees!

I was puttering around the house on Saturday morning. Jack, having worked the night shift, was sleeping in our bedroom in the lower level. I was trying to keep things relatively quiet for him as I cleaned the kitchen and listened to some music playing on low volume.  It didn’t matter how hard I tried to keep things quiet inside, because Lucy was spending a lot of time barking; this whether she was inside the house or out in the yard. On such a warm day, people were out enjoying it. And that meant the walking path that runs behind our yard was busy with walkers and their dogs. Lucy just had to greet them all. She was in her glory, chasing up and down the yard along the fence, calling out her greetings to all who passed by.

Periodically, I’d poke my head out the door and shush her, and she’d look at me with momentary remorse before resuming her bark-fest once again. I thought it might help if I went outside with her. Besides, there was some clean-up I could do in the back yard. Being a dog owner, a winter’s worth of melting snow tends to reveal certain gifts.

Last weekend was warm too, although not nearly as beautiful as it was this weekend. I’d done a good deal of clean-up in the yard then. But there was still quite a bit of snow which was now quickly disappearing. I slipped on a jacket and the mud boots I bought at Fleet Farm a few years ago for just this purpose. Besides not wanting to step in anything unpleasant with good shoes, the grade of our yard means that when the snow melts, portions of it become very swampy. I wanted to keep my feet dry too.

Once outside, I quickly realized that the jacket was too much, and I hung it on the railing at the bottom of the deck stairs. Runners passed by in shorts and t-shirts. It was beautiful outside and the sun felt amazing! I proceeded to make my way around the yard with a shovel, a bucket, and a supply of plastic bags. It wasn’t long before Little Guy from next door appeared at the gate, holding his mom’s hand and pressing his forehead shyly into her leg. I greeted them and as I expected, learned that Little Guy wanted to come spend time at our place. I told him I had to finish the job I was doingbut if he wanted to hang around while I did that, he was welcome. His shy demeanor disappeared and he ran back to his driveway to get his battery-powered John Deere tractor.

Little Guy drove circles around the big White Pine. I told him to stick close to the tree where it was clear of any dog poop. He did a pretty good job of staying where he was supposed to. It didn’t take me long to finish the clean-up, (and I thought how lucky we are to have this warm-up in February. After really snowy winters, when it might be closer to April before tackling it, this can be quite a disgusting job!)

When I was done, Little Guy wanted to come inside and play Wii bowling, so we shed our boots at the back door. Lucy followed us inside. She seems to think Little Guy is some kind of giant plaything for her entertainment, and loves to chase him around as he runs circles through the kitchen.

Little Guy hung out at our house for quite a while. Jack woke up. The barking and sound of running feet in the upstairs was probably to blame, but he gets a kick out of Little Guy, so he didn’t seem to mind too much. Jack and Little Guy played Wii baseball for a while. Then Little Guy and I played Wii tennis. Soon he was asking me to play something else, but I was having trouble deciphering his four year-old words.

The light bulb finally went on. He was asking for Jenga blocks! When we’d babysat him in December, I went on a search for something we might play with him, but soon remembered that any preschool toys that might still be around are probably up in the rafters of the garage. Searching through the game cupboard back then, I’d caught sight of the Jenga game. I figured they might work as a substitute. Clearly, Little Guy remembered and wanted to play again. We built houses and towers for a while, all of which ended up in  a pile because apparently the fun of building with blocks is to knock them down.

Next we watched a cartoon called Masha and the Bear on Netflix. I’d never heard of it. My kids being in their twenties, I’m out of the loop of popular preschool television entertainment. Again, it took me some time to figure out what Little Guy was asking for before we were able to locate the show. (He finally took the Wii remote from me and scrolled through the kids’ menu until he found it himself.) Each episode of this cartoon is a series of three shorts, and they all begin with a lively song during which the characters dance on screen. Each and every time the intro song came on, Little Guy stood up from our game of blocks and danced along. His arms waved and flapped, his head flopped side to side while his feet jumped and his entire body bounced around the living room. Each time, he ended by throwing himself to the floor and giggling uncontrollably.

As we passed the time with blocks and Masha, Little Guy was constantly on the move. Whenever he’s here, he always wants to jump on the furniture, and as much as I want his time here to be fun, that’s where I draw the line. “Don’t do that,” I gently scolded as he stood up and began to jump on the loveseat.

“Why?” He asked, stopping reluctantly, although I’m sure he knows full well why.

“It’s a rule at our house,” I said. “Jumping on the cushions makes the furniture break. I’ll bet that’s a rule at your house too.”

A sly smile crept across his face and he slithered his way off the loveseat.

Periodically, Little Guy would come plop himself down in my lap and sit for a minute. Once when he put too much “oomph” behind an attempted somersault, he landed on his forehead. He fell into my lap looking for sympathy and I rubbed his head along his hairline where I imagined it hurt. I asked if he was okay.

“YEAH!” he shouted and he was off and running again. Sometimes, without warning, he’d throw himself into my arms, nearly knocking me over. Geeze, that kid has a lot of energy! “You’ve gotta warn me before you do that,” I laughed. He just giggled.

Eventually, I warned Little Guy that I would have to send him back home soon.

“Why?” he asked.

“I’m going to church with my mom,” I said.

“I don’t want you to,” he whined.

“I have to, Buddy. I promised. But you can come over again another day.”

“When you get back?” He asked.

“No, not today,” I said. “I won’t be back for a long while.”

“Ten minutes?” he asked.

“No, Buddy. Longer than that,” I laughed.

“Eleven?”

“No, I’ll be gone a few hours,” I said. “I’m going to have dinner with my mom after church.”

His four year-old attention span put an end to that conversation as he lifted his body to attention and asked, “Where’s Jack?” He was clearly done being sad about my impending departure, and Jack was his new hero.

Jack had wandered out the front door a while earlier, and I explained that he was out front, talking to Little Guy’s daddy. That’s all it took to end his sadness over the end of our play-date, and soon he was slipping his boots and hooded sweatshirt on, and then running across the front yards to join the guys.

My housework wasn’t done, but that’s okay. Little Guy isn’t always going to think I’m so cool and I want to enjoy being looked up to while I still can!

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13 thoughts on “Still Cool to Some

  1. How fun to have a little guy to play with until your time is up! I was just in a conversation about how much energy kids have, and one guy mentioned a show that included an experiment of putting adults in a large room with toddlers and having the adults follow along and do everything the toddlers did. Those adults were exhausted within a few minutes!

    We’re unseasonably warm here too. Enjoy it while you can. I actually put a “system” in place so I don’t get majorly grossed out with the spring thaw. I diligently shovel China’s dog pen every time it snows. It’s tiring but worth it.

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    • I can believe that acting like a toddler will wear out an adult. As I was watching the Little Guy, I realized he just moved constantly! And quite often, he was burning some serious energy with all of his running, jumping and dancing. Too bad we lose that when we become adults.

      I am being more diligent about the dog clean-up now that I’ve dealt with the worst of it. Every year I say I’m going to keep up with it better. But then it gets dark and cold … and I get lazy…

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  2. It really has been a lovely weather weekend. When I lived in Florida, if it got down to 50 or even 60, people broke out the sweaters and parkas. I noticed, now that I’m back, people wearing shorts outside this weekend in the same temps. What? Ha. I’m still not acclimated and can’t wear shorts in this weather, but I sure can appreciate the warmer temps.

    After I lived in Florida for several years, I realized that it wasn’t so much that people were cold and needed winter clothing. It was that they finally could wear something other than shorts and tank tops. They wanted to put on a pair of shoes instead of sandals for a change. They wanted to feel the comforting touch of a soft woolen sweater on their skin.

    For me, in Florida, it was more about change. I was tired of everything always staying the same every single day.

    Anyway, enjoy the rest of your nice weekend, as I see that it’s coming to an end for both of us soon.

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    • Lori, I can imagine that I would get tired of seeing the same scenery too if the seasons never really changed. And as for Floridians wearing winter clothes simply for a change of pace … that makes total sense!

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  3. Aren’t these warm, sunny weekends a treat, Tee? Today is in the 60s…with sunshine…and the only thing that would make it perfect would be for the wind to die down. I, too, need to clean the back yard of Dallas’s “gifts,” but it’s so muddy and windy that I’m procrastinating!!

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    • Debbie, I think we got your wind on Monday! It was blustery here! But yes, I agree. the warm sunny weekend was a serious treat. People were out in shorts and t-shirts! (Not me, but other people!)

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  4. I do believe I got a little sunburnt yesterday walking around the park with Lila. I had to keep reminding myself that it is only February. Unfortunately, today I don’t have to remind myself what month it is. Looks like March is going to come in like a lamb though…

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    • Let’s hope that March remains fairly mild! I would not mind at all if we didn’t get any more measurable snow. Or record cold temps! Looks like we’re in for another warm weekend!

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  5. We have unseasonable temps too! At least that’s what I’m being told. As usual, I was inside a hotel all weekend.
    I love that Little Guy took the remote from you and found the show himself. Isn’t it crazy what such young kids can do with technology.
    If it makes you feel better, my house isn’t clean either. 🙂
    Hope you had a great time with your mom!

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    • It IS amazing what these kids can do with technology! I can barely operate the television remote (but that’s kind of because I just don’t care that much to keep up with t.v.)

      I think we should remember that saying … what is it? Something like “a clean house is the sign of dull people.” I’ll let the housework go by the wayside if it means I’m enjoying life! 🙂

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  6. Hi, Tee. Well, it’s been in the seventies and eighties here, in CA, we even ran the air conditioning once or twice. The only little guys (and little girls) I want around these days are my grandkids. They wear me out but what can I say … I love the little buggers. I think it’s very cool that you enjoy the neighbor kids … at my age, I’d just as soon they stay at home.

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