S-A, T-U-R, D-A-Y!!!

There’s always a funny little tension at our house on a Saturday morning. Most often, I am intent about doing something, not letting the one day a week that there are two adults in the house slip by in unproductive lounging about, or at least taking our leisure at some interesting spot in the greater metropolitan area besides the living room and kitchen at our own home. And David wishes for the rare opportunity to sleep in (what is that?!) or putter around the house, lurking at the computer, reading the factoids and tidbits of odd news he doesn’t get to fully take in during the workweek, maybe eat a late breakfast, an even later lunch, and call the bowl of ice cream at 10 p.m. dinner.

I will admit that sometimes, I am the sleeper-inner and he is the home project organizer/boy walker. But almost every Saturday, after one of us convinces the other to get out of bed for whatever reason, rescues Henry from his crib, and whips up some cold cereal and milk, we actually resemble that old dog food commercial, with the pit bull rumbling along muttering menacingly, “It better be bits, it better be bits…” and his little Chihuahua companion jumping back and forth over his back, nodding enthusiastically, “It’s bits, Spike! It’s bits!” Today, I was the Chihuahua and David was Spike.

He didn’t move from bed until I plopped Henry in the middle of it holding a mapquest printout of our destination. We had one small verbal scuffle en route over reading the mileage estimations on the mapquest printout, but by the time we ended up at Huntley Meadows Nature Preserve in the wilds of suburban DC, he admitted that I was right about the mileage estimations AND about getting out of bed to do something.

The boys were enthralled with the geese, blackbirds, and turtles everywhere. They would whisper with excitement when any of the animals was particularly close to the boardwalks. We saw a great blue heron craning his neck out on the marsh, and a beautiful white egret came in for a slow swooping landing. Four geese took off at once and Calvin was sure that they were racing to the sky. There were a thousand calls of all kinds of birds, and a wonderful feeling of being somewhere exotic. Wildlife everywhere, but not at all the feeling of a zoo, and I really thought before that these scenes of quiet natural beauty were mostly in Colorado or in art, like the great Japanese screens I saw at a Hokusai exhibit last week, but here it was in real-life. We stopped to watch three turtles come up and go under in a little muddy pool, and laughed at a goose whose entire head was covered in thick mud from diving into a bog for a bug. Calvin was thrilled with a yellow butterfly – “It’s my favorite color!!!” and Henry just liked leaning perilously over the edge of the boardwalks while David imagined how he would resemble the bog-dipped goose when he had to go in after Henry. That thankfully never happened. Although I would have considered it an additional highlight.

I was also reminded that both David and Calvin have what I call hunter’s eyesight – they can spot the most inconspicuous creatures from amazing distances, and enjoy watching them, while I am squinting and imagining the animals, trying to decipher the inadequate intructions of where to spot them. (“Just beyond this little rise, right past that blowing reed, to the left of that blue heron.” What qualifies as a rise? And what does “just past” mean? 5 inches, 5 yards, an acre?) Sometimes I just laugh with them and pretend to see the turtle that looks like an extension of the slippery stump it crawled up on. They can both spot things – foxes, deer, woodchucks, you name it – from a vehicle traveling 65 miles an hour on the highway, too. Calvin frequently makes us stop the stroller to pick up something like a gray feather from a little patch of grass that I can’t see when we’re searching for it, but that he eyed from the stroller and immediately wanted for a treasure. Random, fascinating talent. The things you realize about each other on a day together.

That was our Saturday. Always a nice gift, Saturday is. Even when we both putter around the house like pitbulls and the kids take up the Chihuahua role.

P.S. Later in the day, Calvin made another list. David, in his frustration over a bowl of Cheerios being spilled that he had just picked up from being spilled, said, “Dangit!” Calvin immediately reprimanded him, saying, “Dad, don’t say that. ‘Dangit’ is a bad word.” Then he proceeded with his list making: “Dad, there are… (mentally counting)…six bad words.” David asked what they were, and this is what he got:

1. stupid
2. dumb
3. shut up
4. dam
5. dammit
6. hell

Funny that “dangit” didn’t make the list that it prompted. Wonderful that he knew stupid, dumb and shut up are not acceptable. (Maybe he does hear!) Interesting that he knew about h-e-double-hockey-sticks. And a complete mystery where he got 4 and 5 from. (Oops. Maybe he does hear! But at least he knows what list they belong to, right?)


the lizness said...

I hope you are writing all these lists down because they are great. I think Calvin's lists deserve a blog of their own :)

glad you had such a great outdoorsy day. we picnicked w/ some other churches and had a blast. The Rev is sunburned. I have burned nose, but that's it.

Big Jay said...

Ha ha! That sounds like us on the weekends. Angela wants to go get out and do something. I sit and think and sit and think about what kinds of fun stuff we ought to get out and do. "What I'd really like to do is sit around and putter. How about I do that? I should get up a list of stuff to do so that we can plan it, and Ang can anticipate it ahead of time. One day I'll get my act together.

Angela said...

I hate to admit, the most beautiful thing about this post to me, is the above comment. Hope for a brighter future. Thank you for this blog. :)
Just kidding. What exactly qualifies as a rise!? Amen sister. I get so frustrated trying to find things others can see, and then on the rare occasion I do find something being pointed out, I'm like, "Dude, that was a COMPLETE waste of my time."
I LOVE Cal's lists. Does he know that the last one on his list is where his mom will go if she keeps swearing in front of him? Yesterday we saw a real dam. Ben didn't know dams were an actual thing. He says, "I like dams!"
Then he got to thinking about the only time he really hears that word, and they aren't really likeable moments so he said, "Do I like dams mom?" I refrained from telling him which dams he liked and which damns he didn't. Love the blog, I will be back!

Nettie said...

Hey, I was in the DC suburbs on Sat. too! I'll have to take the family to check this place out. And I loved your chihuahua and pit bull analogy and left me wondering just what kind of dog I am!

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a perfect day! I love these pictures -- they beautifully capture the wonder of childhood when it comes to discovering nature.

(sorry my blog name looks weird - I can't get into my blog this morning. Aarrgh!!)