The outdoorsy type


When Henry was about nine months old, we left him with some friends of ours while we went on a date. We told them that if he cried, they should take him outside. They sat on their porch with him for two hours.

Fresh air cures almost everything for Henry. He often goes onto our back patio to play as soon as he finishes breakfast. This created a lot of battles over shoes and jackets during the winter. I usually won on the shoes. He usually won on the jacket, which is to say that he didn’t wear one. He was perfectly happy to play barefoot in 40-degree weather.

He had Monday off of preschool because of the flooding that has been going on, and after taking him out to run errands, I sent him into the backyard with a bucket.

“I’m playing in the rain, Mama!” he said when I went out to check on him.

“I know. Is that good?” I asked.

“Yeah, I feel better,” he said.

I laughed and laughed. He has been feeling that every day since birth, and he finally has the words for it.

I started to ponder what kindergarten will mean for him. That’s still years away, thank goodness, but when Eleanor started school, I was not worried about her having to spend too much time inside. She’s really happy to spend hours coloring and making up stories with her stuffed animals.

Henry, on the other hand, needs to move. And he usually seems much more content and engaged when he’s outside. He’s easier to handle. Maybe that’s because he can no longer jab a screwdriver into an electrical outlet. Or slather his face and hair with the hand soap he found. But I think nature is his happy place.

I know a handful of boys already who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. I don’t have any reason to think that Henry has either of those conditions. But a lot of researchers and parents agree that a seven-hour school day is too much for any 5-year-old to sit through, and this seems to be especially true with boys. I imagine that someday the pendulum will swing back the other way and kids will be given more outdoor playtime. Not soon enough for us.

Eleanor is really into the Little House on the Prairie books, and I’m astounded at how much time those children spent outside. Don’t misunderstand. I do enjoy central air-conditioning, and I have no interest in dressing my own meat. But those books provide plenty of proof that humans, especially children, are not adapted to sitting at desks for eight hours a day. How do we help kids cope with our current system?

What do I really want?

I have this habit where I ponder huge life changes when I become bored. Greg and I discussed this last night. When he becomes bored, he researches products he might like to buy. When I become bored, I research graduate schools. A bored Greg might buy a new camera strap. A bored Sarah might apply to nurse practitioner school in Nashville. One of us is slightly more interesting to live with. One of us is also slightly more crazy-making.

I mentioned to Greg a few days ago that, hey, as long as I’m changing careers, I could just go ahead and have another baby. It’s not like I would have to worry about having a gap in my resume if I’m returning to school. And Greg gave his standard raised-eyebrow look: Are you really bringing this up again?

You guys, am I really bringing this up again? We are done. We agreed that we were done right after Henry was born. And then when Henry was a year old and 18 months and on and on. I gave away the maternity clothes to make it final. It wasn’t final. At least once a month, I bring it up again. All of my friends are done having babies and seem pretty settled with their decisions. I feel as though I will be 50 and still pondering adoption.

Our family is always missing a daughter, so I’m not sure whether it’s possible for me to get to a point of feeling done the way other women do. I often think I want another (living!) child. Given my infertility/stillbirth/high-risk pregnancy history, it’s laughable that I’ve spent more than a year agonizing about this. As if deciding to have a baby really means something.

In direct opposition to the baby thing, I also want more time in the adult world. I am much happier when working, and I would like to at least be building toward whatever career I will have down the road. And part of me thinks that if I got back into my career or went to grad school, I would lose interest in having another baby. Is the baby thing just about boredom?

I’m reading back over this and feeling like I need a therapist. I thought I would be better at this adulthood thing by now.

Bluebonnet photos 2016

We were late getting to the bluebonnet photos this year, or rather spring came very early, so the flowers were tall and unruly. I have a few thoughts about these photos. First, Eleanor looks so much healthier on the gluten-free diet that the guilt is starting to press in. How did we not catch this for so long? Also, how am I to survive this growing up thing? Why do people continue to have children knowing that they will grow up? For comparison, here’s last year.