Sunday, March 25, 2007

Inside, 'Outide', Upside Down

Here in NEOH we're actually experiencing spring right on schedule. The weather yesterday flirted with 70 and today it definitely made it over that. How wonderful it is to hear everyone coming out of their winter cocoons, to see the streets populated again with children who are running, laughing and having a blast in their new found freedom from the rather dark, indoor days. How exciting to plan the garden, think about taking hikes in the metroparks and revel in the joys of riding your bike once again. And oh how I have begun to cringe when I hear "I wanna doe outide".

Yes, along with everyone else, Laura has watched the boys playing in the mounds of snow. She's watched us shovel from the safety and warmth of the house. She's looked longingly after the boys as they don the jackets forced upon them on the slightly warmer days as they break out the basketballs for the first time. She's caught glimpses of them getting their bikes ready for riding again. And yesterday she watched them head out in shorts. She's finally figured it out. It is warm enough for her to go out, too. And she is going no matter what.

It started yesterday morning. Jonathan, with the very large heart of a big brother who can't find anyone else to play with at the moment, offered to take her out to play. She was thrilled. She clutched her hands in front of her, opened her eyes wide and smiled from ear to ear. "OUTIDE!" and "YES" were all she could manage to say as we put her shoes on her for her first fun day in the great outdoors since last fall. She headed out the door with delight and began to explore the front yard with Jonathan. Soon they were raking leftover leaves with small sandbox shovels and drawing pictures on the driveway with sidewalk chalk. She was busy, happy and thoroughly enjoying herself. Jonathan was doing his best to keep one eye on her while watching his friend's empty driveways with the other, ready to pounce on them the moment they got home.

Oblivious to the tragedy that was about to engulf her, Laura happily clapped right along with Jonathan when one of his friends pulled up in their driveway. With purpose Jonathan began singing the Clean Up song and Laura went right along with it. Within minutes everything was put away and he began shuffling her towards the back door. Suddenly, the little light bulb in Laura's mind clicked on. This wasn't in her plans. She began to balk. She wasn't going back inside no matter what. Loud wails began to arise from deep within. It didn't matter. She tried crying. He could have cared less. She tried to dig in her heels. He picked her up. She tried pleading. He didn't fall for that either. Finally she plopped down in the driveway, determined to stage a sit-in, or in this case a sit-outide, if needed. For just a moment I thought she might win. Jonathan looked like he might give in. But only for a moment. After looking up at me watching in the doorway with a slightly frustrated look on his face, he reached down, picked her up sideways and headed towards the door. She wiggled, she screamed and she kicked. Jonathan held firm. Somehow in the scuffle she ended up upside down.

As I stepped out the door to retrieve the precious package from Jonathan, I knew this was just the beginning. There would be many more days of pleading to go 'outide', and many more days of her ending up just like she did today. She'd come full circle. She'd been inside, 'outide' and upside down. And it has only just begun...

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