The Pirates of the Captain’s Backyard

It’s after Memorial Day. It’s the first day of June. College students are home. Teachers are done. So it doesn’t matter that the calendar insists on a June 21 starting date  — around here we know that summer already is underway. Luckily, I’ve got the best thing for summer: A 3-year-old grandson with a knows-no-limits imagination. And a big backyard. Here we’re playing pirates. His ship is the slide/treehouse on the left and mine is the slide I’m (uncomfortably) sitting on, on the right. First we had to run around the yard looking for treasure, with a lot of “arrrr, matey” and other piratey phrases. Then we got on our ships to sail toward Treasure Island, since the whole running-around-the-yard thing didn’t yield much, gold-wise. We did find a silver and red pinwheel, which pleased me much more than it did Capt. (Hook) Adorable. Since I was having trouble finding Treasure Island — didn’t pirates have GPS? — the good Captain literally jumped ship and came over to help me. Good thing, too. No telling where I might have ended up. But perhaps Treasure Island is there over that fence? Naw — it’s just the neighbors’ driveway.

And in more “welcome, summer” news, click here for some great Southern recipes for the best of hot-weather eating, from the blender to the grill to the dip bowl. No oven required.

The Slide ‘N’ Nap

This is the smile I cannot get enough of. Well, one of them, anyway. Almost 3-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable has a complete repertoire of smiles but I’m especially delighted with the one that says, “Okay, Kacky, it’s your turn to go down the slide now.” We were playing in his backyard on a recent warm and sunny day and, as usual, he was in charge of the schedule. First we do sand-box construction work, then run around the yard for a couple of laps, then fall on the grass laughing with Roxie the Dog, then try to climb up and over the 7-foot-high fence and then try to surreptitiously fill up water in the red plastic bucket and tote the water to the sandbox to turn the construction zone into waterfront property despite Mommy telling him not to do that. Again. Then we play some basketball (I’m great with the Thomas the Tank ball and 4-foot-high plastic goal) and check to see if the carrots Mommy and Daddy planted in the garden yesterday are growing yet. And then there’s the slide. Actually, he has two in the backyard. One is short and wide and adult-friendly. The other is long and narrow and built only for those who consistently fail the “you must be this tall to ride” test. The Captain’s preferred method of playing on the slides is to A) make Roxie the Dog slide down and B) figure out a way he can ride his dump truck down. Plus, we both love the game that I invented called “Sleep.” See, I sit on the bottom of the short-and-wide slide (because I can’t fit on the bottom of the long-and-narrow slide) and I lie down on my back with my feet on the ground and I start snoring and the Captain climbs to the top of the slide and then slides down, bumps into my head, leans over to gleefully ask “Kacky? You awake, Kacky?”  and then laughs wildly as he jumps off the side of the slide to do it all again. This goes on for several minutes. If I’m lucky.

Spring

I am not a fan of Spring-Forward Sunday. For one thing, I’m pretty much a lazy person and when we’re off Daylight Saving Time and it starts to get dark at 5 or 6 at night, it’s quite easy to put the ol’ pajamas on and call it a day — literally — by 8 p.m. But in Daylight Saving Time, you’re sort of compelled to keep going until 10 p.m. or so. I mean, isn’t that why Daylight Saving Time was invented — so we’d have more time to do work? Whose bright idea was that???!!! And when I was a young mom, I dreaded the spring-forward time change that wreaked havoc with those lovely early bedtimes. However, now that I’m Grandma Ka-kee and treasure every moment I can spend with my almost-2-year-old grandson, Capt. Adorable, I say the more daylight, the better. That just gives me more playtime to hang out with the Captain in his backyard and his ultra-cool new playground equipment his mom and dad got him for an early birthday present. It’s got slides and a climbing wall and a fun underneath space for hiding. Plus, it offers the chance for scientific exploration, such as “Why has rainwater gathered in this little hole and I wonder what would happen if I put my finger in it?” And when it’s spring and nice weather, you can also have your  snack of yogurt-covered blueberries outside — definitely worth giving up an hour or two of sleep!