Trip to the Backyard
I’d waited all winter for it to be warm enough. Grinning over at the baby in my arms, I stepped into the yard. The light breeze made her squint and I thought for a minute she was going to fuss, but she didn’t. Picking my way across dog droppings in the yard (I made a mental note to remind the hubby to pick these up), I reached the swing set. “See? This is your swing set, Midori. It is blue,” I said, and then because that seemed anticlimactic somehow (I'd pointed out that much from the upstairs window), I added, “and made of metal." Clank, clank, clank, I proved with my knuckles across the hollow steel. When we reached the first terrace, I squatted on the steps so she could see the light peach-colored flowers, quivering in the breeze. To my delight, a bee buzzed up, and since we’d already been discussing bees and their noises from books like Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree and Mr. Brown Can Moo, I enjoyed this chance to point out a real-life example in the brief moment it hovered in her vision. The tree was next, where I pointed to buds that would soon be leaves. Its bark felt rough against my skin but there were no sharp edges, so I held her hand out to feel the same. She pulled it back, fighting my tug, and I sensed that she just wanted to look, not get involved. Ignoring this, I squatted amid the gently-swaying daffodils. positioning her so that her face nearly touched one. “This is a daffodil,” I informed her. “It is yellow. It smells nice.” She struggled to track its movement with her eyes, blinked often, and squirmed, finally growing frustrated. Safely nestled in my arms once more, we examined Daddy’s grill; the orange, clay chimney, the black, messy innards. The clay had absorbed the afternoon sunlight and I risked her irritation again to place her hand against its heated surface. Sunlight broke through the clouds warming the grill once more and making her tiny fingers glow white. “Time to get you inside, little girl,” I said, remembering she didn’t have any sunscreen on. My baby girl, content with this decision, took it as an opportunity to learn what the living room contained instead.