This must be the oddest Spring in the history of the world. Or at least it just seems that way. The cherry blossoms in my neighborhood are giving off a strange vibe...as if not trusting what is really happening to them. Can't say I blame them. Two weeks ago it was a balmy 74 degrees -  so warm we broke out the summer wardrobes and grilled out with the neighbors. Today, however, it was a chilly 45 degrees with snow in upstate New York. Hang in there Cherry trees! It is nearly May.

Meditation with Children

Monkey and I have been learning to meditate together. It is something I've been doing off and on for several years yet not consistently for the twenty minutes twice a day practice I know would be optimal. For the past couple of weeks we've added it to our bedtime routine and he gets upset if I suggest we skip it - so we just stay up later to make sure it gets included. We snuggle close in his big comfy chair and use the Ipad to watch YouTube tutorials or we listen to music or meditate silently. Our favorite song is the Gayatri Mantra by Deva Premal and we often sing along. Such a beautiful way to end a long, busy day. Here is one of our favorite videos by yuttadhammos. His voice is calming and sincere and this video a perfect introduction to meditation for children.

Backscratching Master

After reading Sea of Monsters, brushing teeth and settling into a comfy chair for last chance whispers, Monkey asked me to scratch his back (actually a nightly ritual.) Daddy may win in the wrestling department but my nails are a bit longer and I am nothing if not detail oriented.

His drowsy voice shared the following:

"Mommy, if there was a contest for mommies to scratch their children's backs, and it was like that dance contest you like on TV and children had to hold cards with numbers, guess who would win the contest if all the moms of the world were in it?"

Me: Who? (holding my breath as if scratching a lottery ticket with the first two matching numbers revealed)

Him: You would, Mommy (patting my cheek).

WOW. I am undone right now. If I had a cape I think I could fly.

Tikki Tikki Tembo and Angry Birds

I did some volunteering at Monkey's school recently and on one day read Tikki Tikki Tembo to his class as a mystery reader. The story is a big favorite in our home, and his friends in school loved it as well. I threw in some folklore history, some facts about China and an art project making Chinese lanterns.  I was a rock star in my own mind - until I made the horrid mistake of having a quiz on the topics we had discussed.

The quiz was actually fine - it was that I hadn't brought enough prizes for every single child in the class (foam globes). Cannot believe I made such a rookie mistake but the prize idea was very last minute and not well thought out (spotted the globes at Michael's the night before and there were only four). A competitive rewards system just does not translate well with the 6 and 7 year old crowd (cringe!).

After the four were handed out, an adorable little boy in the front burst into tears of disappointment, much to my absolute horror. The teacher helped handle the situation with professional care born from years of experience with inexperienced parents who think they are way cooler than they truly are (um - that would be me).

Lesson learned and I am sending in a conciliatory something for the entire class next week to ease my guilt and embarrassment. Agh!

The Chinese lanterns gained new life as my husband and Monkey found a creative use for the ones Monkey made at home with leftover paper. I walked in to find them whispering over a coffee table they'd flipped upside down and rigged with a bungee cord. They used this to propel an Angry Bird toy at an Angry Bird pig they'd hidden inside a tower of Magna-Tiles surrounded by the lanterns. I joined in and ended up decimating the pig tower before they did - gaining some respect points. I take them wher-ev-er I can. Really. Anywhere and everywhere these days.


Photosynthesis and Bike Rides

The swans and ducks are bobbing in our nearby lake and the forsythia is bursting forth in sunny abundance! We just spent a perfect afternoon on a nearby bike path and enjoyed the unfurling of Spring.

Monkey is a pro now on his bike. He's had training wheels off for quite a while yet something in the fresh air had him deliberately crashing his bike into soft piles of leaves every fifteen minutes or so. He always came up laughing so we guessed he was practicing wiping out  - is this a boy thing?

The section of bike path we like best crosses through the New York State water reservoir and it is just so peaceful surrounded by nature. So many trees were damaged in the October ice storm yet you can see saplings sprouting in the sudden sunlight.

 I've seen fields full of jonquils and early tulips everywhere lately - yet there is something about the small things growing in the midst of winter remnants that just tugs at my heart.

One feels fortunate to witness their small victories - lovely wonders of photosynthesis. Nature's way of reminding us that seasons will change and the small things will grow as they should. A bit like watching our children, laughing faces raised to the sun. I am trying not to look forward to Summer, as much as I love it. I'll miss these cool days filled with sunshine. Spring has arrived and it is full of crazy fun bike rides and magical anticipation.