Today it felt like summer outside.
I love summer. I love being outside. Summer weather makes me happy, even when I’m sweating in the blazing sun.
I’ve been looking forward to this summer because Ada is an outdoors girl. Rosie, well she isn’t…she doesn’t like bugs, or dirt, or anything like that.
Last year in the spring we went on a guided hike up a creek nearby and Rosie sobbed the entire time. Today we went back to the same creek to play. I told Rosie that she could sit on the bank with her doll in her sling. She had to hike the mile down the steep winding path to the creek, but then she was free to sit on the banks. I didn’t even pack her a change of clothes because she swore up and down she wouldn’t touch the water. The whole hiking experience in the past has been nothing but her sobbing. I love being outside so much, I can’t imagine raising a child who absolutely hates it.
Today we walked down the narrow trail and Rosie didn’t cry. She didn’t even complain on the way down. I was surprised, but I didn’t say anything to her.
And she jokingly fake smiled too.
She looked up in the trees at birds and clouds, which is something she was never able to do before she got her glasses at the end of this past summer.
We got to the creek and Ada got in. We had friends with us, and my friend’s toddler Alice also got in to splash.
Rosie surveyed the creek and then asked me if she could get in. I almost fell over in shock, but I didn’t let on. Of course you can get in, why couldn’t you? Go for it!
The water was pretty cold at first, but in the shallow spots under the sun it wasn’t too frigid.
I watched to see what she would do. We were splashing and wading over the loose flat rocks and through squishy Kentucky clay mud. There were little bugs and minnows, and salamanders too, all tickling over our toes in the clear water. For Ada and me this was pure pleasure. For Rosie? I mean this is careful, cautious, type A Rosie we are talking about…MUD SQUISHING BETWEEN HER TOES? Are you kidding me?
I waited for screaming, hysteria, sobbing, and a swift exit to the river bank where she would beg for a towel to make her feet pristine before putting her shoes back on as quickly as possible.
Instead…instead this happened:
Yes. She’s splashing. This is not photoshopped. This is a picture of Rosie SPLASHING in a creek.
I never dreamed in a million years this would happen.
She is smiling. Grinning, even.
And then–it gets better. She fell down. She sobbed, but then after I dried off her glasses and told her to take off her skirt she cheered up.
What? She didn’t keep crying and then pout for the rest of the day because she fell in a creek? This is not right, it’s atypical…Rosie is always very predictable.
Instead she walked into the deeper pools.
I was speechless. I acted like everything was normal–the entire Earth did not just shift on its axis. The entire schematic of Rosie’s character did not just explode into bits and pieces.
There was mud ON HER LEG.
Mud. On. Her. Leg.
Unfathomable. She didn’t even care.
And you won’t believe this. It gets even more crazy.
She said to me, “Mom I want to come back and do this again! But next time can we bring my swimsuit?”
Stunned. Stunned into silence. Completely. Mind blown.
My predicable Sheldon Cooper-esque child has just deviated from her norm in a huge way.
Send a forklift to get my jaw off the ground.
Tonight when I was tucking her exhausted little body into bed she said to me, “Mom that creek wasn’t the same creek we went to last year on the hike where I cried the whole time.”
“Yes it was. It was the very same creek, at this very same time of year.” I told her.
“No it wasn’t. That wasn’t the same trail we walked on either.” She was insistent.
“Swear it was. Promise. What was different about it to you?” I was really curious.
“Last year it was so scary! Everything there was horrible. I hated it. The trail was scary and so was the water. It didn’t look scary at all this year!” She looked at me and I realized what the huge difference was.
“Is it because you have your glasses this year and you didn’t last year?” I asked her.
She thought for a moment. “Yes! This year I could see everything everywhere! It wasn’t blurry, I could see all the way down the hill on the trail! I could see the water really good. It was so fun now that I can see it. I loved it!”
Oh my gosh I feel horrible. How could I be such an attentive parent and not know my child was unable to see anything?
I just had no idea. I didn’t realize she couldn’t see stars in the sky, or the man in the moon, or leaves on trees. I pointed them all out to her but thought she just wasn’t interested. I didn’t know she couldn’t see billboards, or street signs, or christmas lights and halloween decorations as we drove through neighborhoods during the holidays. I thought she just didn’t like them. She would nod like she was unimpressed.
And the hiking, the outdoors…I had no clue she was so terrified because she couldn’t see where she was going. I want to cry thinking about it. She was actually scared because she couldn’t see the trail or where she was stepping in the water. I just didn’t know. She didn’t know either, she had no idea what she was missing.
I’m taking every one of my children to regular eye doctor appointments starting at age two from now on. If any more of them are blind like their father then I want to know right away so they don’t have to wonder around in a blurry world like Rosie did for several years of her life.
It’s kind of fun watching her discover all of these wonderful things she can enjoy now that she can see well. I just wish she didn’t have to go so long without enjoying them in the first place.
There are so many exciting things out there to show her. We saw some of them today.
Deer tracks, big ones!
Baby salamanders wiggling inside of their eggs on the underside of a rock in the creek.
And now Rosie can see people’s facial expressions from a distance. When she got tired of playing in the water she sat back and watched Ada and her friend Alice have a blast skinny dipping and splashing.
Oh, her chipped gap toothed grin…
I love this one. I want to hang it on the wall, except I’m not sure it would be appropriate since it’s a n*ked toddler booty.
Ada didn’t want to leave. “Go back water. Go back. Water. MORE! Please water. Please.”
She pouted when I told her it was time to get out and start the mile long death hike straight up the mountainside. (During which I carried her 30 pound deadweight, along with our picnic and some other stuff. I thought I was going to die at the halfway point.)
Now both girls are asleep and every bone in my body feels broken. Apparently I got out of shape during the winter. Either that or I turned into a 90 year old woman. Shew.
Our ten day forecast is all weather in the 70′s, one day is even forecasted to be 80. I have a feeling there will be more hiking and creek swimming in our near future! I have no idea why it’s this warm in March, but I’ll take it.