Thursday, April 16, 2009

Funny Thing about Picnics

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Really!

Maya was healthy (enough) and enthusiastic about getting to preschool this morning. So enthusiastic that she had herself dressed and in the car by 8... and we usually leave at 9... so after coaxing her back into the house for a few rounds of Candy Land off she went.

On the way home a couple of hours later, Maya's energy level still seemed really high. I suspect she may have spent the last few days of her recovery hoarding energy reserves for the rest of the spring.

When she spied another mom with two little girls picnicking by the playground, she took up the persistent chant "mom, can we have a picnic.... mom, can we...."

"Yes, yes of course."

I agreed in spite of that other picnicking mom and the sullen look on her face as she struggled to keep her girls and their picnic items in one spot. I agreed because I love picnics. Sitting in the warm sun, knowing the kitchen won't need to be cleaned, and watching my girls enjoy a little lazy time in the backyard after a healthy, if a little grassy, nourishment.

As it turns out, in a few minutes I would share that other mom's expression.

We headed into the backyard with high hopes, just as soon as we finished assembling the organic peanut butter and homemade rhubarb-strawberry jam sandwiches on organic, high-fructose-corn-syrup-free bread, filled a plate with cut up banana, grapes, and apples, and snagged some milk cups.

It took a while to get to the back of the yard, where the new (to us) kid's picnic table sat... chicken run adjacent, I might add.

It took a while because my hands were full of lunch, and Elliot kept running back into the garage to climb into the jogging stroller and shout "walk, walk!" We had been for a run to the park this morning. The first one of the season... apparently it made an impression.

It was slow progress: convince Elliot to follow Maya, pick up the tray of lunch items, walk a few steps until Elliot doubled back.... start over. Finally, Maya grabbed her little sister by the hand and gently led her to the table.


Then I realized my mistake. Sticky jelly. A relatively sandy table. And five hungry chickens begging for handouts.

Elliot took one look at the paper plate full of little, sticky sandwich squares and immediately formed a plan: suck off the jelly and hand the bread to the birds.

It all happened so fast. A tumbling crowd of brown and white and black feathers jockeyed for position at the fence. A chubby little fist nearly doubled in size, when you account for the layers of jelly, sand, and grass that accumulated on it. She gave up licking the jelly pretty quick, and just doled out PB&J to the chickens.

Um, fairly expensive PB&J, I might add. Those birds are living large!

I'm not actually sure if anyone ate anything. Well, not true. I sat and ate my sandwich, watching the chaos with a sense of resignation and amusement. Hmm, I probably should have stepped in.

But both the girls and the chickens really enjoyed the picnic. The jelly and dirt washed off of Elliot, mostly.

And now, after our very first picnic since November 4th, I have a more realistic view of what to expect. Next time, the picnic will not be chicken adjacent, and lunch will not be so sticky!


HausFrau said...

LOL Yeah, it's disappointing when this kind of thing happens despite your best intentions, huh? I'm sure your girls had a fun time feeding the birds a treat, and I'm sure your chickens were happy to oblige.

Anonymous said...

YOU JUST HAVE ALL KINDS OF FUN!! DID YOU TAKE PICS?? Come watch the osprey anytime!! Love, Aunt Carol

Sarah said...

Oh, I had the camera at the ready, but there was way too much jelly involved to risk taking pictures!


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