I have to bribe my baby to come home with me every day. She's not very happy when I appear at the babysitter's door. The second she sees me she usually responds by walking with great purpose in the opposite direction. The other day she changed it up, though. She took one look at me, put her head down, and started crying.
That was a feel-good moment.
Since she doesn't have a choice- it's happy hour- I always bundle her up, cover her tears in kisses, and ask her Do you wanna go to the barn and see Sam? See your horse?
A sniffle, a halting of the tears, and Beep's chubby finger rubs her cheek, then slips into her mouth. She is thinking. She looks at me, and I nod and smile, and dangle the word in front of her again: Horse.
Horse is the first thing Beep says when she awakens in the morning, and I hear her little voice talking about horse from the backseat during our commute. She recites our horses' names, feeds them treats, and is fascinated by their movement. She points out horses everywhere- in books, on clothing, in paintings, and in pastures. It delights me, and it arms my arsenal.
Wanna go to the barn and see Sam?
There's no denying she's got it bad: she's horse crazy.
I don't think a love for horses is always a matter of upbringing, although it can help. I loved horses from my girlhood, despite almost no exposure to them. And I know a toddler just a few months older than Beep who is surrounded by horses nonstop but displays absolutely no interest whatsoever. He likes golf.
Beep comes with me more willingly after my promise of horses, and we eventually arrive at the barn. Our visit with Sam has to be brief. It's 103 degrees, with a heat index even higher. Plus, it's already after 6:00 and we have work to do here, more travel to get home, and then dinner to make and chores to do.
We walk out through the dusty paddock and Beep squeals and kicks in my arms. Sam is munching hay and sweating in the open sunshine. Beep is happy to see him, and she gives him a pat and gets busy playing in his hay.
And then she does a little dance. To the left, to the left...
And slide. Slide.
I give Sam a quick bath, and Beep waits just outside the wash rack with her hat cocked so she looks all streetwise. Yo.
A few more little tasks, and we put Sam back in his paddock. He is kissed and patted by his two girls.
Then it's back in the car with the A/C full blast, where I have to once again stave off a tantrum by bribing my baby with the promise of another horse. This time, it's Dju-Djah. Junior.
Home at last, and out to the barn where we find Cabbage caring for our convalescing colt, Junior. Beep has a chance to sit on him.
Just before we head up to the house for dinner, Beep is told Love Junior, Baby. That comes easily to her. She knows just how to do it.