Friday, April 11, 2014

Return to the Porch

Finally: spring. Our backyard is a mudpit, the crabgrass is growing in aggressive clumps all over our front yard, the finish on our porch steps has worn off completely--and yet it's glorious to be back outside, able to keep the front door open and let the girls run around with zip-up sweatshirts or, today, only their regular clothes. Lucia and Greta, starved for the outdoors for months, have been gorging themselves on the open air and the space to run. All week, whenever I've taken them outside, they've been absolutely overcome--they don't stop moving. The activities they've been absorbed in are just different reasons to run. One game is "It's raining!" and involves running from the playhouse to the rhododendrons to the slide to the biggest mudpit and around and around again. Another game is "Help me find my sister!", which involves each girl holding her three small mermaid dolls, hurling one of them as far as they can, and then just running at top speed to retrieve it. They have colored every branch of their favorite rhododendron with chalk to make a "fairy house." Before the mudpits dried up, they painted rocks and trees with sticks dripping in mud. They call each other Silvermist (Greta) and Rosetta (Lucia), or switch off being Elsa and Anna. They recreate scenes from Frozen: they like to stand at the porch railing, gingerly put both hands onto it, then gasp dramatically and pull back--as though horrified to find they've turned the railing to ice.

I don't want to put myself out of a job or anything, but they've been so happy all week, so completely absorbed in each other and reacquainting themselves with the outside, that much of the time I've just been able to sit on a chair or on the porch steps, idly watching over them. One day, after the mailman handed me a stack of mail, I was even able to read an entire New Yorker article. That was crazy.

We all pay the price around 5:00pm, when the girls more or less lose it from total exhaustion. They haven't learned yet to pace themselves. Today they needed a tiny break and played calmly with princesses and Squinkies for over an hour this morning in the living room (I read most of the newspaper!). Then we took a nice walk to return our library books and, after nap/quiet time, played outside once more.

We haven't yet put out our porch furniture--it's the weekend's project. We are all very excited to start our porch living once more.

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