My mother headed back to Tennessee last night, where she’ll stay for a couple of months, so Edith and I are on our own again. Usually my mother babysits for a few hours on Saturday afternoon, which I really rely on. Otherwise, the hours between 1pm and 5pm are somehow 15 years long; there’s a sort of time warp that happens specifically on Saturday afternoons and I never think I’m going to survive it. Today, Edith and I got up from her nap in a fine mood, and then I didn’t know what else to do.

I stared around the house at a loss. I’ve been meaning to try finger painting with Edith, but I couldn’t think of any way to manage it that would end with my trying to clean finger paint off the walls and wood floors all night and I wasn’t up for that. We couldn’t go to the park because it is now nearly 100 here in Texas (in early May; we’re all going to die) and the walk to the park isn’t shaded. The neighborhood pool was out for the same reason. Mom got Edith a little wading pool and I thought about setting that up with the splash pad in the back yard, but in the afternoon, the sun comes up to the back of the house, and I just paled at the thought of all the zinc oxide it would require and trying to get Edith to keep her sun hat on and etc.

Finally, I put the wading pool in the living room and put all of Edith’s toys in it, and she had a fun time throwing them all out of it and back in for awhile.

And then at some point, I opened the front door and she busted past me, shrieking in relief, and when I caught her and dragged her back inside, she wailed as if her heart were broken, so I put her shoes on and we went out there for just a minute. She took off at a flat run and I chased her down the street and around the neighbor’s yard and through the bushes, all the time feeling like we were frolicking on the actual surface of the sun. It was so hot that even Edith got tired after about 20 minutes, but by then it was only half an hour till dinner so we had made it through the hard stretch.

Tomorrow, I’m going to take her to the park first thing right at sunrise when we get up, and then the afternoon is swimming, so I should probably make it to Monday alive.

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