Tonight I read my five-year-old son a bed time story that included the following passage: “An insect had planted its egg in Chasmosaurus’ hide some days earlier. Now the egg had hatched and the larva was burrowing through Chasmosaurus’ skin to reach a vein so that it could suck blood.”
My son let out a loud “ewwwwww” and eagerly flipped to the next page, and we continued to read about the plant-eating dinosaur’s adventures escaping meat-eating predators.
As I continued to read, I came to two conclusions. I should probably monitor the books he picks out from the library a little more closely, and it is now quite clear why he often has nightmares!
The next page described a parasaurolophus being devoured by a pack of dromaeosaurs. I have no idea how to say these words, but my son makes sure to correct me when I stumble. As I flipped to see what other delights this book would contain, I looked down at my son’s warm head tucked into my armpit. One small hand rested on my leg and the other grasped a stuffed animal he has cuddled since he was only months old.
I tilted my head slightly to the side, so I could see his face. A wild, gleeful look flashed in his eyes as he studied the bloody gashes in the dinosaur’s skin. I shook my head. How in the world could this be the same boy who only an hour ago squealed in delight when we spotted a tulip growing in our neighbor’s yard?
Before our carnivorous bedtime story, we had gone for a walk around the neighborhood. My son would only agree to come with me if he was able to bring his notebook (because everything is a negotiation these days).
For several weeks, he has been carting around a spiral Avengers notebook wherever he goes. Mainly, he uses the notebook to copy long dinosaur names from his dinosaur encyclopedia. The names are printed in a mixture of crooked, lower and uppercase letters that meander their way through several lines on the page.
This time he wanted to create a list of all of the flowers we saw on our walk. I agreed that it was a good idea and turned my attention to my daughter as he disappeared to go find his notebook. My daughter, of course, had her own set of requests for the walk that needed to be negotiated – a baby doll, stroller, snack, and a princess dress.
When we finally got out of the house, the first flower we spotted was the forsythia bush in our front yard. He pointed excitedly and then opened his notebook. He proudly showed me a page on which he had drawn a chart. Situated in the center was a picture of a flower; I was delighted. Up until this point, I have seen him draw t-rex teeth, brachiosaurus necks, and ankylosaurus tails, but never any flowers.
The flower was surrounded by a set of boxes that leaned in all sorts of directions. “Okay, Mom. Check off a box,” he told me as he handed me the pencil. So, I did. After the forsythia, we found: tulips, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, daffodils, periwinkle, redbuds, and violets. Each time we saw a new flower, he asked me to identify it, and then he instructed me to place a check through the box and write the name next to it. The last flower we found was a dandelion. He picked two and handed them to me with a smile on his face.
I love this age. It is a perfect combination of sweet, little boy cuddles and hugs combined with wild wrestling, skinned knees, and a fierce curiosity to learn every gruesome detail about the world around him.
It is the age of meat-eating dinosaurs alongside special blankets and stuffed animals needed to fall asleep.
It is the age of sword fights followed by tea parties with his sister.
It is the age of jumping off rocks but still needing his mommy to kiss his boo-boos.
It is the age of speeding by on a scooter but being scared of the dark.
It is the age of whining and complaining, “I can’t do it! It’s too hard!” but quickly realizing he can.
It is the age of so many questions and not enough answers.
After reading about vicious dinosaur attacks, we cuddled in bed while listening to soft lullabies. Lately, our days are filled with many contrasts like this. As my son starts to take big steps toward becoming more boy than baby, I know these days of dinos and daffodils won’t last long.
I so enjoyed our “flower walk.” What is your favorite Spring activity? Comment below or hop on over to my facebook page and leave a comment. Click here!
(And if you really can’t handle not knowing what happened to the poor Chasmosaurus referenced at the beginning of this post … don’t worry, all ends well for him. Well, if you disregard the whole extinction thing… The quote was from this book: Chasmosaurus by Rupert Oliver).