Once Boots was in school, I assumed that Berzo's toddler-hood would be more or less a repeat of Boots', but it wasn't. We do some of the things that Boots and I did together, but we've also invented many new routines and rituals. We'll stroll to Starbucks and she'll get a Apple Juice Love-It, (other people call it a Kid's Apple Steamer—I prefer Berzo's nomenclature) then we'll go to play in a park nearby. It has columns holding up a covered area. We weave through the columns, playing tag, and hide and seek, I hide behind a column and act shocked that she could see me and find me. We pretend we are in a rocket blasting off to orbit the earth. Usually we don't escape Earth's gravitational pull and plummet back down to the ground. However, sometimes we build enough thrusting power and I fly her through the air, her body laid across my arms and we take several orbits of the earth before returning to the launch pad. We also pet the friendly dogs that frequent the park for other reasons...
There is another park nearby with a bridge over a creek, and we spent copious amounts of time gathering sticks, leaves, and rocks and dropping them off the bridge into the water. We took trips to another park to feed the ducks, play in the Echo Tunnel, and visit the library. We'd also meet our friends, Cathy and her son, for fun play dates at our parks, library, zoo...
|Cutie and Berzo awaiting the sea lions.|
|At the ER.|
The school year passed too quickly and it was summer again.
The girls kept asking to go swimming so I decided to declare Wednesday as Swim Day at our local aquatic center. The girls loved playing in the warm, shallow pool specially designed for kids. I had fun too, but I also sprouted a couple of new gray hairs worrying over changing room cooties and small children's propensity for touching and tasting everything.
She loved spending time with Tante Lina and getting tickled and tossed around by Uncle Dave. The nearby river was a big deal for her too. There's just something zen about a river. The cold, clear water tumbles by washing away stress; hours glide by unnoticed as we throw rocks, wade and watch.
Also, big sister isn't the only horse girl in the family. During our visit to Lina's, Berzo also got to ride a horse at Sue and Bob's farm. When Boots was riding, Berzo was out at the pasture fence, playing with the other horse, Spider, who seemed just as interested in her as she was in him. When Berzo's turn to ride ended, she burst into tears and was only consoled when we took another trip out to visit Spider at the fence.
Shoalwater Bay is a tricky place to swim. The tide breathes in and out twice a day, and when the tide ebbs the mudflats go on and on, stranding the last of the water in the distant channels. The best conditions for swimming occur when the tide is out in the morning and the mudflats are allowed to bake in the sun until it flows in the early afternoon. Then the mudflats warm the frigid ocean water making it rather pleasant for swimming. Sound tricky? It is. When there is a good tide for swimming, you must seize the moment, even if it is 7 p.m. It's magic when everything lines up, and difficult to explain to your two-year-old when it doesn't. Luckily, a walk through Oysterville and down Clay Street to see the bay is never a disagreeable experience.
Fall fell upon us and it was interesting to watch Berzo be aware of the changes. First the leaf colors changed and she'd remark on the golds, reds and oranges, as she collected them. “Look at this pretty red leaf, Mama!” Then they dropped off entirely and she'd declare, “The trees are all naked Mama!” Then she'd have a good laugh at her joke. She and Boots spent a the warm fall afternoons raking, and arguing over rakes, and jumping in the leaf piles.
Although, having two girls has made our life infinitely more complicated, and their fighting is disheartening at times, I couldn't imagine my life without this adorable little bug. Having one child changed me in so many ways, and I couldn't imagine loving another child as much as I love Boots ; then I had Berzo and my heart simply doubled in size. I see it in Charley and Boots too. She has touched each of our lives in a way that binds us tighter as a family and helps us to focus on the sweeter, gentler things, and Berzo is the embodiment of that.
When I asked Berzo what she wanted to say to every one she gave me a coy grin and hugged me. So here's a hug from Berzo >:D< mmmmMMm.