We played knights and horse for hours several days running. The first day I made the mistake of trotting on all fours on hardwood with both children (about 75 lbs total of wiggling gleefulness) on my back, and discovered to my chagrin that not only was I much stiffer than I recall being the last time I was the beast of burden for small fry (some twenty years ago), my knees couldn’t stand the punishment. Bruised and wiser, I decided to take an adult stance and only give piggy-back style horse rides in the grassy backyard to one young relative at a time. Brad referred to me as “horse” for much of that period, as he was a knight, complete with lance and sword (usually imaginary, sometimes simulated by sticks and other items), and we had to slay dragons and bad monsters and such. Rita was also a knight, and the two of them almost came to blows over equine access until I instituted a strict 1-2 rotation of riders, with frequent breathers given the horse for water and rest.
We ate lots of pretend food, and bedded down on the picnic table, and played “drums” on the moss underneath the tree in the southern corner of the yard. Brad and Rita both decided that their knightly pets (all knights have pets, I was told) lived in the tree. “What sort of pets do you have?” I asked. “Doggies and monsters!” responded Brad. “Vampires and bunnies,” said Rita. “Not vampire bunnies?” I wanted to know. “No,” she said. Anxious to expand her reading list, I started to describe the plot of Debra and James Howe’s Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery. Rita looked at me pityingly. “Oh, I know that,” she said, with the assured air of someone who has already read the books in question. It’s a bit humbling to be literarily outpaced by a six-year-old.
Later, three-year-old Brad wanted to show off his real pet, his “little rabbit” as he called Fahrenheit, who is really, truly a jumbo bunny. This rescued herbivore’s been moved to a hutch outdoors (the space he formerly occupied indoors is now an aviary for a flock of 6 parakeets), and every day one of the adults fetches him out of this confinement and puts him into a movable playpen in the backyard, where he can munch clover to his furry heart’s content, eat what delicacies the children bring him, and lie in the shade of a plastic picnic table. That bunny has it made.
Here’s a shot of the movable enclosure. Rita is lying on one bench and Brad the other, while they harass Fahrenheit, who is resting under the table.
A boy and his “little” bunny on the swing.
Brad has the “poor little puppy” look down pat— those liquid milk chocolate spaniel eyes are hard to resist...
...and he knows it, the little stinker.
On Saturday, we went strawberry and pea-picking. A good time was had by all.
(We ate the fruits and vegetables of our labor that evening—delicious! Fahrenheit got the leftover pea pods.)
Rita with strawberry:
A little ham with his strawberry:
Thanks to the perpetually-tardy U.S. Airways, we made it back safely to Augusta this afternoon, more than two hours late. I’ve loaded my car, and plan to drive all the way back to DC tomorrow. But I don’t intend to set my alarm tonight—I need all the sleep I can get. I’ve been exercising like a fiend these last two weeks; thus far I don’t see a difference in my poorly-stirred tapioca pudding thighs, but I am flat tired. Must persevere! I am consoled by my cute new haircut—the shortest and bounciest to date.