While it is still winter around here, one day last week it was clearly Spring. Shira went down for her nap after lunch, and Alyce asked to go out and play. I was grateful for some quiet time in the house and so Alyce got to exploring the backyard.
But when she asked if I'd help her make a bird's nest, I couldn't resist. I'm an easy target when it comes to such requests. And when she asks me in that tiny warbly voice if I want help her, I help. It didn't hurt that the sun had warmed up the day so much that I could leave my jacket inside. In February. In Canada. So we found ourselves collecting-- grass, old plants, and branches. And we made mud. Glorious mud.
There are many times in my week at home when I lose patience with the mania of my four year old. She's intense, extremely bossy, stubborn, emotional and never stops talking. But at the same time she is loving, funny, compassionate, never stops talking, and is completely filled with joy. And when I say filled with joy, I mean she actually sparkles. Like she did earlier today when she poured my Martha Stewart silver glitter all over her head and the head of her younger sister. We wanted to look like fairies. Of course they did. This day, building our very own bird's nest, her sparkles came through all on their own. So hands off my glitter.
Like I said, all you need for a bird's nest is some dry grass, twigs, and mud. I don't claim to be an expert or anything, but I think I build a fine nest. Alyce was moderately impressed by my nest-making skills (if only she knew how I make my very own nest for her everyday), and quickly became obsessed with location, location, location. Where should we put the nest? In the top of a tree, of course. This is her face having just fallen at the news that I couldn't climb high enough to tuck our nest in the branches. But I can stand on your head and reach, Mama. I'm very big.
So we settled for the bird bath. It had everything we needed: off the ground away from the dog, in plain sight of flying birds overhead, and out of the sun (so the birds could rest, glare-free). Then she waited. And waited. She had big hopes of all the birds in the neighbourhood descending into our yard, cuddling right into their new little home. If only we could have willed a bird to join us, even for a few minutes. As a parent wanting only the happiest of things for her little one, I wanted so badly for a bird to appear. But Alyce? She quickly recovered from her deep disappointment and moved on. She turned her attention to new adventures, namely strategically placing old cherry tomatoes around the garden for the birds to eat later.
Adults, parents or not, often complain about children, expressing frustration at their difficult, emotionally-charged behaviour. And yes, The Children try my patience daily. But I have a lot to learn from them, too. Alyce teaches me to let go of disappointments, to move on after something makes me feel sad. She reminds me everyday that there is always another adventure just waiting for us. I need that kind of reminder, some days more than others. Lately, I need it a lot. A good Monday lesson, isn't it?