puppy dog eyes and puppy love

It was kind of a slow day for us here today. Harvey is sick with a fever, so he spent the day lying on the couch with me sitting next to him stroking his head. Zion ran around the house in circles and sometimes threw books at me. Of course we read a lot of books. We also played blocks and trains but more subdued than usual. The house was eerily quiet for the three of us being in it together. At times Harvey just looked up at me with his big droopy fevered eyes and groaned: "I love you Mama."

I usually try not to let my emotions get the better of me (anger excluded) so the tenderness of Harvey's sentiments caught me off guard. It's not to say I don't believe he loves me, of course that's why he pulls all the whiney baby crap that makes me so angry. It's just that mostly I hear "I love you" from Harvey as a response of courtesy or to get something that costs money. I felt like today was the first time I heard in his voice: I appreciate your presence. I actually like it when you're near me. I want to be with you. You know, "I love you."

Which is not to say I like my child pathetically ill, but it was a nice sentiment to isolate from our normal more boisterous lives.

I don't know what was in the air today. When I picked Zion up from his nap I smelled his hair and he smelled like a new puppy. All of a sudden I got that feeling I get around puppies, like, I am so lucky to share this moment with this amazing crazy little creature. A puppy is a fleeting concept; puppies exist for just mere weeks before they shed their youthful frivolity and morph into dogs. Dogs are fantastic, don't get me wrong, but the way a puppy will stomp his two paws in front of you when he wants to play, it's like this heroin shot of joy, it's almost too much because it hurts to know it'll soon be gone. Babies take soooo much longer to turn into dogs. They're helpless and needy and rewardingly adorable for many more months than puppies. But as I picked up Zion and smelled his puppy-smelling head, I had this baby Rascal feeling: I am holding an amazing, fleeting, ball of joy, and the love is almost too much to bear.

The smell on his head was pine shavings, by the way, which is used for litter at many kennels. We also use it in our chicken coop, where the boys were helping me out yesterday.

spreading new bedding in the chicken run

spreading new bedding in the chicken run

They are already helping with chores - they won't stay babies forever. When they're loud and pushy it's easy to wonder: how soon will they grow up? When will they stop needing me to fill their juice cups? But today when they need me more than juice cups, when they need me to be their Mama, I want to say: I like it when you're near me. I want to be with you. I love you guys.