I just wrapped up an after dinner family photo session hosted by the one and only Toddler Farmgirl Ava. She has a sudden interest in photography, I think it has something to do with her other Babysitter Farmgirl friends who just started Instagram accounts. Anyway…she was pretending that a clothes hanger was her camera. She wanted us to give ourselves bunny ears and make funny faces. We obliged and she snapped away some “pictures.” It was really great, innocent fun!
I then asked if she had any other color cameras, maybe a green one? She replied that all of her other cameras “had clothes hanging on them.” Hilarious! The imagination can have its limits, apparently.
Two and a half is a pretty amazing age so far. There are a lot of mood swings happening around here, along with testing of wills and boundaries. Most activities are done “by mineself” while “What you doing? Can I help?” has become the question du jour (however, “but, why?” comes in at a close second). Ava’s coordination is pretty intricate and improving every day. We have a balancing yoga routine, she loves walking on curbs and short walls and I bet she could climb her away around most places without touching the floor. Her imagination is amazingly entertaining. Yesterday we played “Elephant Family” I was the babysitter elephant. For some reason the cord for the vacuum cleaner has been a rocket ship for a couple of weeks (?? I have no idea where this came from…I always end up building a new “rocket ship” out of something else because I get paranoid about her playing with a long cord!). She tells stories about dinosaurs, pigs and babies–they all take a lot of naps; she makes up songs like “Clap, clap, clap your hands! How do you do it? Clap your hands!”; and she comes up with the funniest names for stuffed animals and imaginary characters like “Snackle” and names that end in -nsk (Fernsk, Planksk, Ourunsk, etc.).
But, the best part? The best part of being around a 2.5 year old is their language development and usage.
I know a lot of the phrases she uses are ones that I use often. In fact, I catch myself using them frequently once she starts to say them regularly. Her most recent one is “It’s okay, it’s okay!” with the first iteration being reassuring while the second is more assertive or demanding. I have found myself saying it to a cranky Opal while strapping her into her carseat or changing her diaper. Ava, however, uses it at the best times. She said it to me today while trying to detangle drip tape. It had been tromped on by loose farm animals and then blown around in the wind. “What you doing? Can I help?” She asked. I usually try to find something for her to do because I think she loves the sense of duty, so I had her “help” by holding one of the lines where it was already untangled. It was at the end of a long, hot harvest day and I was getting obviously frustrated with detangling the lines when I hear, “it’s okay. Mommy–it’s okay!”.
She was right. Of course it was okay. It was more than okay. I was standing in a beautiful bed of beets, carrots and other roots with my sweet babies on a pleasantly cloudy, breezy evening in Alaska. I had just finished harvesting fresh, organic vegetables that will go to feed many mouths and nourish many people. We are healthy and safe and have a lot of love to share. Of course it was okay, I just needed a reminder.
Toddlerhood and childhood are such precious, innocent, fleeting times. Ava and Opal know nothing of the ills of the world. Opal is consumed with evermore advanced forms of mobility while Ava’s biggest concern is whether or not we have enough ketchup for the day (she’s an addict). I’d like to keep it that way for awhile. They will know of wickedness all to soon… We (mommy and daddy) do talk (sometimes vehemently) about current events, but we don’t stream 24/7 news to completely inundate our psyches!
So, there you go, even while the world seems to be crumbling in some respects–“it’s okay.” You are more than likely okay. We are going to be okay. It’s not like we don’t care, in reality there is only so much we can do. I think every good deed (just like every bad) has a ripple effect in some way.
We have many opportunities to make this world better and we are trying to do what we can in our own ways. I help my friend grow a lot of beautiful produce. I write letters to representatives. I make food for new mothers. I teach kids about the natural world. You might volunteer at the local botanical garden or attend Black Lives Matter rallies. You might pick up litter on your walks or deliver food to elderly people. You might just make it a habit to genuinely smile at people who really look like they need it. It is good and necessary to feel and mourn and get angry about recent events, but we also need to take a step back once in a while and get in the mindset of a 2.5 year old: “it’s okay!” Just don’t let the toddler ego get the best of you (they are the center of the universe, dontcha know!?).
Until next time, keep embracing that Farmgirl mentality of perseverance, clarity and creativity! We can do fantastic things in and with this world. Let’s do it!
Sending peace and love from Alaska,
Alex, the Rural Farmgirl