E and I go to the Arboretum all of the time. It's free. It's beautiful. We walk and talk about the plants and the seasons. This morning we got there at 8:30 and did a 3-mile hike on the Wildwood trail (she kept going at a steady pace for the whole time, which I thought was wonderful because she's not quite 5). We went from the Cherry Trail to the Wildwood trail and then up through the Winter Garden (the viburnums and witch hazels are blooming... not yet the daphne...) and then onto the Beech trail.
Today we were focused on the surface of the path itself because it was so cold and so early that there were icy spots, even though the texture of the path was rough.
E: "What are those blue dots on the path?"
Me, after some struggle to figure out what she was seeing: "Oh, those are little rocks poking through the dirt."
E: "Why are they blue?"
Me: "Rocks are different colors depending on what minerals they have in them. We have minerals in us, too, and we need them to be healthy, just like vitamins."
E: "If we have minerals in us, then why do we get sick?"
[D is very sick, as I wrote about before. It's hard to know where the physical crud ends and where the emotional crud begins. I told him I feel like a widow, and E has mostly known him as a pillow or jungle gym for the last two weeks because she can only interact with him by climbing on top of him or cuddling against him.]
Me: "Well, actually, we get sick so that our bodies can figure out how to grow stronger. You know how you were sick earlier this month? That is how your body learns to grow stronger so that maybe you won't become sick with the same thing again. If we really feel and understand the sickness we're having, then we have a chance to grow stronger.So you know how Daddy is having lots of feelings right now and also lots of coughing...?"
E: "So Daddy must be really, really growing stronger right now! He's really really sick right now so he must be getting a *lot* stronger right now!"
Me: "Yes, sweetpea, and we can help him by being gentle and patient with him and by inviting him here for a fun walk as soon as he is ready!"