Manifolds, Manolos, and Manure
Six years ago, our big, little boy entered the world moments after his father finished planting soybeans. With his scrunchy face and no official eye color he managed to turn our entire family upside down.
My family raises tough, strong-willed women. I was raised by one of those women along with her sister. Her sister raised two tough, strong-willed women. I have a tough, amazing blue-eyed girl who despite spending her last quarter of fifth grade being home schooled by her mother is growing up to be quite a young lady. Our family raises women, or we did until my big, little boy entered the world one hot June night.
Our big, little boy loves digging seeds with his dad. He loves using his dad’s knife. And despite our efforts to make sure said knife is stored safely out of his reach, we continue to find it in his room and more specifically in his bed. Under his pillow. Or clutched in his grimy little hand.
Our same big, little boy adores his cat, “Xanadau.” The fluff ball lets our big, little boy throw him over his shoulder and cart him around the house. As a thank you for tolerating him our big, little boy let’s Xanadau sleep on his pillow while he sleeps on his Bucky Badger pillow pet. Or without a pillow. Most nights Xanadau is wrapped protectively around our big, little boy’s head.
Despite his parents’ nerves, our big, little boy started kindergarten this year. Along with his friends, he has learned his “popcorn” words, letters, numbers, and basic math. More importantly he has learned the power of “yet” … he doesn’t know the answer yet. He has learned to be brave and to raise his hand to be heard. Our greatest regret is that he missed out on the final eight weeks of school with his kindergarten teacher.
Our big, little boy adores skid loaders. All skid loaders. Bobcats. Caterpillars. John Deere. New Holland. He’s not picky it has a bucket. And preferably tracks. He adores driving them with his dad. Scooping manure. Moving feed. He’d love them even more if his dad let him drive them by himself.
On the note of farm equipment, he spends every morning “carpet farming.” With his dad in tow they plant, spray, and harvest the kitchen. His bedroom. Living room. Hallway. And when his mom lets him, his parents’ bedroom. For some reason, he never seems to have problems with the timing of rain.
School has given our big, little boy a love of books. Like his sister before him, he’s spent this year following the adventures of Jack and Annie in the Magic Treehouse books by Mary Pope Osborne. He’s currently in Nome, Alaska during the diphtheria epidemic of 1925 as Jack and Annie join Balto to save the town. Balto of the Blue Dawn was proceeded by Narwhal on a Sunny Night.
Farm kids are resilient. They’re tough.
As parents we want nothing more than our big, little boy to want to milk the cows. Drive the tractors. Farm. Just like his dad, grandfather, and great grandfather before him.