For his birthday last September, I bought Roman a “Critter Cabin,” and he takes this thing everywhere he goes, even into stores (when we stopped by a natural food store, Roman put the bug house into a carry basket and lugged it all around the store). The little habitat is full of sticks and leaves and grass and spiders, and he has watched some pretty interesting things occur inside. He’s seen spiders construct webs, he’s observed spiders wrap insects up and eat them, he’s watched little critters lose their skins. And he will gladly tell you all about it. Michelle said there are nearly 20 library books about insects spread around their house, and the books are pored over obsessively. (Michelle can now tell you more about insects than she ever hoped she’d know!)
Last time Roman visited, he came into the house after exploring outside for awhile and said, “Grandma Susy, hold out your hand. I have something for you.” I obeyed, and he placed a spider on my palm.
“Okay, Roman. Cool. You can take it back outside now.”
“No, wait. Just wait.”
A few seconds later, “Okay, that’s long enough. Take the spider now.”
“No, wait. I want to wait until it bites you. Then I’ll take it outside.”
Sweet boy. He probably wanted to see if I’d turn into Spider Woman. (I’m serious.)
That same day, Roman sauntered through the house holding his arm out, palm down. I noticed something hanging from his hand and asked him what it was. “It’s a spider web string, and there are a million babies crawling all over it,” he said. I inspected the single strand of web hanging from his hand, and there were indeed more teensy spiders than I’d ever seen in one mass in my life crawling all over it.
“Time to go outside with it Roman. I don’t want a million little spiders growing into a million big spiders inside my house!”
Reluctantly, “Okaaaaay. . .”
I followed Roman out the door, making sure that both he and the spiders arrived outside. As he walked across the patio, Roman said, “Now the babies are crawling all over my hand.” He sighed. “They think I’m a tree.”
As Michelle packed the car to leave, the kids ran around in the front yard. The grass is long (the gardener didn’t show up this week—not my gardener, but my landlord’s; and I hesitate to call him a gardener because he does most of his work with a loud, powerful weed whacker that violently sprays dirt and debris all over the side of the house and the driveway, which the “gardener” then herds back into the garden beds with a leaf blower; isn’t gardening supposed to be a gentle art?)
Anyway, one-year-old Liya lives close to the ground and couldn’t help but notice the daisies that had popped up everywhere in the grass. She sat amongst the flowers, just like Ferdinand the Bull, and began to pick and play with them. I thought it was sweet when Jayden came over beside Liya and picked her a flower.
Notice Jayden has glasses now. Very thick glasses. We all knew something was amiss when we’d read stories to the kids and Jayden would block the pages with his head. He’d have to keep his face about two inches from the book in order to see the pictures. I’d swing those story books back and forth and up and down and all over the place in an attempt to see around Jayden’s head so that I could read the words aloud, but that head remained in directional sync with the book wherever I swung it, just like birds stay in tight formation when they change direction or a school of fish remain as one synchronized unit while darting to and fro. (Our read-aloud sessions, with dancing book and head, would have been quite an entertaining and puzzling sight, I’m sure, for those who didn’t know. . .) Poor little Jayden. But now he can see, and was he ever excited when he discovered what things really look like! Now he practically panics if his glasses fall off, but he takes comfort in knowing that Grandma Susy can’t see without her glasses, either. We are comrades in spectacles!