Technically, it’s spring. But it’s snowed three times in the past few weeks, rained nonstop. Also, hail. And then, oddly, sun with freezing temps? And today, 78 degrees?[A brief note to Mother Nature: Oh, Mama. I get it. Motherhood is hard. Just ride those mood swings out; we’re here for you.]
Bee and I spent our “spring break” holed up inside watching movies, building fires and forts, boiling pasta. We gave winter one last hurrah before the curtain fell, and it was glorious until it wasn’t, until we’d played a million rounds of Feed the Woozle, read our books, glued pom poms to cups, to plates, to her wooden train. Even the dogs felt stir crazy, stealing Bee’s stuffed puppy and leaving a sufficiently unstuffed puppy in its place.
Hey, want to go on an adventure? I ask Bee when the sun finally appears.
To Singapore? she asks.
Maybe just the park? I say.
Deal! and she’s off to find her shoes.
I grab the oatmeal.
The oatmeal, specifically, is Plum Organics’ newest toddler line: Mighty Mealtime. It’s USDA certified organic with non-GMO ingredients, all presented in handy travel packets for impromptu adventures. For breakfast-on-the-go, just add hot water.
For a snack-in-the-park, try the bites.
‘Afternoon Adventure Oat Bites’
4 packs of Mighty Mealtime Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp almond butter
3 pitted Medjool dates
1. Mix ingredients together in a food processor or industrial blender.
2. Scoop into balls or bite-sized chunks and let them firm in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
3. Pack up, enjoy in park.
We hit a patch of sunlight as we pull into the park and it’s hot. The rosy cheeks, sweaty tendrils, exhaust-a-toddler kind of hot, and we think ourselves lucky.
After she smells the flowers, looks for worms, peers at ants, runs amok with the kickball, the inevitable:
Mom, I’m hungry.
Come sit with me, I say.
We chat over oat bites, fresh berries, water. She tells me it’s her friend I Love You’s birthday, that she’ll be expected to attend a party later.
There will be a cake! And actually, a pony. But not a pony cake. Like, an actual pony. To ride. But not until after you actually eat the cake. The cake comes first, you know.
She chatters, and I catch intermittent sentences – We’re actually going to sing Moon River! You know, my Huggleberry friend? – but mostly, my mind wanders to the fresh air, the brief respite from clouds, the blooms all around, the oats in our bellies.
The food in our souls.
On our drive home, the van is silent in mere minutes and I know she’s fallen asleep. I glance in the mirror to see her skinned knee, fluttering eyelids, small head slanted to one shoulder.
I wonder briefly if I should wake her for lunch when we get home, or if I should let her be.
It’s an easy answer.
Let her be, I think. She’s full.
And so am I.
p.s. This is an essay for Plum Organics, one of my favorite brands vowing to offer kids the very best bite at the dinner table and beyond. We love Mighty Mealtimes for nutrition on the go; visit here to enjoy recipes and a coupon for $1 off any 2 Plum Organics Tots products.