My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

The Future Looks Bright (and Dirty)

2006-08-07

Today, Dusty’s class went to the zoo. We haven’t been since last year and this morning we tried to remember what we had seen: lions, tigers, giraffes, monkeys – lots of monkeys, gazelles, and penguins. We also discovered a nice shady forest path with forest animals lurking within.

I used the photographs we took of that trip to make a book for Dusty when she was sick last fall. It begun, "One day Dusty and her mom went to the zoo and saw..." and there's a picture on each page of each animal. At the end, there's a picture of Red. "And...babies?" I always like to leave 'em laughing. Red really is a zoo animal - a cross between a chimp and Godzilla. No lie. She does a really good Godzilla impression. I wish I had a video camera.

It was a nice morning so I hope they had a good time. I’m sure I’ll hear all about it when I pick her up this afternoon.

This is her last month in preschool and the last month of the school’s summer program. Other field trips this month include: the art museum, putt putt golf, krispy kreme tour (mmmmm!), bowling, and Skateland. Wish I were going. In addition, there will be something called the Girl Scout Zebra program (?), a puppet show, a magician, the monthly bike day, and a summers-end party on the 31st. Then, there’s a long weekend (and guess who has to work on Labor Day? Yeah, it sucks but whatever) and...Dusty miraculously becomes a kindergartner.

Had to happen eventually.

Last evening, the weather was remarkably wonderful. I don’t know what happened but it was pleasant and not a bit humid. So, we went out and walked around in the yard, something we haven’t done in weeks because it’s just been too nasty to even consider it.

First, Dusty, Red and I wandered barefoot over to the well and sat on the cover, “Eat, eat,” Red said to me, patting the space next to her. What she means is, “Sit, sit” but for some reason it comes out “eat.” So we sat and listened to the rednecks down the road. They were having some kind of outdoor party – or maybe it was just them (they have five children) and a few buddies. The ATVs were fired up and I could hear the buzz of those stupid things back in the trees for a bit. Ah, country life!

After Red went to bed, Dusty and I went out for a stroll.

“You know what I like about summer?” she said.
“What?”
“The bugs.”
“Really?”
“Yeah, they make all kinds of different good sounds.” And we listened to the crickets, the cicadas, the bees, the bad bad Japanese beetles, and a number of things I couldn’t identify. We swung on the swings (Dusty tried to swing so high she could touch the branch of the walnut tree but she didn't manage it; I think mainly because the dead limb had already fallen) and then looked at the wildflowers growing in the patches of tall grass – Queen Anne’s Lace, some wild tiny daisies, something blue, other weedy things.

“You know, next year, Red will be old enough that you all can just play outside together by yourselves.”
“Really?” Dusty said, the possibilities of that astounding her.
“Yes. Red will be old enough to know not to go down the driveway and you all can stay out and dig holes or whatever you want.”
“Cool,” she replied.

It’s nice watching them grow older and more independent even though it’s sad. I won’t mind, though, having a quieter house. One in which I can sit my ass down and read a book without having to get up every five seconds to see who’s putting what in their mouth, who needs to be held rightthisveryminute, who needs ANOTHER cracker, who's suspiciously stinky. I can send them outside and let them fend for themselves. Perhaps I’ll get a little of myself back while they go out and discover who they are. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

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1:31 p.m. ::
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