It’s hard to be small…

Otter and I joined Monkey and a few of her friends at the playground after school yesterday. We usually stop and play for a few minutes after we pick Monkey up, when the weather is warm and inviting. Otter likes to sit in his stroller and watch the big kids run around, climb, and slide.

Yesterday, about fifteen minutes into the experience, it occurred to Otter that he can walk now, so really there is no reason for him to stay in the stroller watching the big kids, he can play with them. So he petitioned for his freedom, and was granted early release for good behavior.

Off like a rocket he went! (If a rocket is small, toddling, and unsteady in it’s gait.) He toddled straight toward his sister on the climbing bars smiling all the way. As soon as he got to her, he grabbed a hold of the lowest rung, and lifted his little baby leg up, and up, and up.

That’s when he noticed that the highest he could bring his chubby baby foot was still well below the first rung. He tried again, and again, and again. Then he turned his little baby face to me and trumpeted his little “help me mama” bleat.

“Sorry honey, you are too small to climb on that.” I said. I grasped his hand and walked him over to the stairs, as he loves to practice going up and down the stairs. He was happily toddling away again, up and down, up and down, when he caught sight of Monkey heading down the huge red slide. Oh the laughter in her shrieks! How much fun it looks!! In seconds he was off, running full baby speed for the slide, a full size, extra long, way too big for him slide.
I stopped him a few feet from the entrance.

“Sorry honey, you are too small to ride on that, let’s go play something else.” Oh the screams!! You could hear him argue “I am not too small! I can walk to it can’t I! Lemme on Mama!!”

It was definitely time to go. I rounded up the big kids and we all walked home for apple slices, cheese, and Goldfish. I consoled Otter on the way, as he fought with being back in his stroller, with being unable to do all these big kids things, and with being too small.

Poor Otter, so certain he could do what they did, so happy to think he was free and able to go roam the playground just like his sister. Here he is, finally able to walk and run around, finally able to get where he wants to go without Mama, and yet, still too little to do anything once he gets there.

It’s hard to be small.

Honey for your honey…

This year for Mother’s Day, do something a little different. Rescue some bees. You can get your mom some bee friendly flowers for her garden, donate to a bee worthy cause, or help her make bee friendly hives for her garden. Honey Bees have been vanishing from all over the U.S., and with them our way of life.

Carrot Cake, Apple Strudel, Blueberry Scones, Cherry Tarts, Pumpkin Pie, Guacamole, Broccoli Quiche, French Onion Soup, Butternut Squash with Cinnamon, Almond Butter. These delectable foods and desserts are an example of some of the foods that will disappear from our diet if we can’t keep the bees healthy and put a stop to Colony Collapse Disorder. These foods, Carrots, Apples, Blueberries, Cherries, Pumpkins and Squash, Avocados, Broccoli, Almonds, and Onions, simply won’t grow without the help of pollinating bees, specifically honey bees. In fact, $15 billion worth of U.S. crops are at risk because of the disappearance of bees.

Why are the bees disappearing? Beekeepers noticed odd behavior in bees and sounded the alarm when seemingly healthy bees began abandoning their hives in 2006. An estimated one third of all honey bees in the U.S. have disappeared. Poof. They have simply flown off.

Scientists attribute the vanishing bees to a number of different factors, including inadequate food supply, pesticide use, and a new virus. The inadequate food supply is due to human activity, building homes in previously open spaces, planting gardens that don’t provide bees the resources they need to survive, spraying pesticides specifically targeted at bees. We might like their honey, but most people don’t like having the bees buzzing about their backyard BBQ. Sadly, our dislike has parlayed itself into acts that damage Bee habitats, and therefore ourselves. Bees play a critical, and irreplaceable role in our food supply, and we should do what we can to help bring them back. But what can we do?

The National Resources Defense Council has a few ideas:

Bee Native: Use local and native plants in your yard and garden. These plants thrive easily and are well suited for local bee populations, providing pollen and nectar for bees to eat.

Bee Diverse:Plant lots of different kinds of plants in your yard. Plant diversity ensures that your garden attracts many different varieties of bees and gives them a range of flowering plants to choose from throughout the year. Make sure your yard plants vary in:
Color: Bees have good vision and are attracted to several different colors of flowers.
Shape: Different species of bees are better suited for different shapes of flowers. Give your bees some variety!
Flowering times: Having a sequence of plant species that flower throughout the year helps sustain the food supply and attract different species of bees.

Bee Pesticide Wary: There are many natural methods to control pests in your garden. Researchers believe pesticides are a contributing factor to Colony Collapse Disorder. Moreover, some insecticides are harmful to bees and wipe out flowers that provide bees with food. If you must, use targeted pesticides and spray at night — when bees aren’t active — on dry days.

Bee a Hive Builder: Building your own bee hive is easy and fun. Creating a wood nest is a good place to start — wood-nesting bees dont sting! Simply take a non-pressure treated block of wood and drill holes that are 3/32 inch to 5/16 inch in diameter and about 5 inches deep and wait for the bees to arrive.

For more ideas on helping the honeybee, you can visit HelptheHoneybees.com, this Haagen-Dazs supported website offers articles on the Bee Crises, links to ideas on how to help, and more. You can also visit and support the PennState Bee research and UCDavis’s research. To be more personally involved in the solution join The Hunt for Bees at The Great Sunflower Project. Check out the articles at The Daily Green for more ideas.

The N.Y. Times provided this map tracking the bee disappearances, along with some well written articles on the issue. Click on the map for a link to one of their articles.

Haiku Friday

The time to act is here, losing the bees will have a direct effect on your lifestyle. No more strawberries on a hot summer day, or piping hot slices of All American apple pie when it’s cold outside. We need the bees. Plant a bee garden, get a hive going, donate to organizations that are trying to make a difference, do something.

This year for Mother’s Day, help your mom be a source of change, and save a few bees.
What better way to celebrate Mom, than to save the world’s fruits and veggies?

The big baby…

Otter is one. Just one, he hasn’t even hit thirteen months yet. Despite his youth, he is big, huge really. His last stats were:

Weight 30 pounds 6 ounces
Height 31 1/2 inches
What does this size mean beyond increased muscle gain in my arms? (All right, my arm, I am really bad at alternating, so I end up with a muscular right arm, and a measly left.)

It means I have a one year old, who sometimes acts like a two year old. He reaches up and opens all the doors and he can hold my hand when walking without me stooping to reach him. He pulls furniture down on himself, and can reach onto all the surfaces in my home, except the kitchen island. Last night for dinner he ate a serving of meatloaf, as in, the same size serving I ate. Then he nursed for an hour. He is a big boy, destined to be a linebacker, or wrestler, or an interior decorator (What? He will be able to better reach the draperies for improved artistic arrangement). He can also get himself down off of the bed and couch, without hurting himself.

Don’t believe me? Luckily for you this whole diatribe is a thinly veiled excuse to show you more baby cuteness… so here it is:

Note how he is taller than the tall kitchen garbage can in our bedroom.

Thank you for sharing in my Otter’s accomplishments with me. I am going to start strength training to deal with his increased weight, but I don’t think I will be needing much of an exercise plan after he gets through with me.