lucy lion cub

today my wacky Lu wanted me to play outside with her, just her. i was nauseated and exhausted after a long emotional week (btw, it's only thursday), but she didn't and couldn't know of that, so i agreed and out we went. she goofed around on the swing for a bit and we collected fallen avocados. she jabbered the whole time, demonstrating a trick zoey taught her for safely jumping off mid-swing. one of her pale skinny knees got a bit of mud on it while she was un-spinning. she swung as high as soon could, trying to reach the plastic baseball bat she asked me to hold out in front of her, first with one foot, then two. 

for the grand finale she taught me a complex game she claimed she and eleanor had played before. she carefully placed herself on the swing, gripping the ropes while at the same time grasping the iridescent pink hula hoop in her right hand. as she swung (after a few starter pushes, the hula hoop was heavy), i was to toss bean bags and tennis balls through the moving hoop; extra points were awarded if i was able to hit the tree trunk. we absolutely delighted in this silly game, and before heading inside switched places, though my giant body made it a little tougher for her to hit her target. we rejoiced when she "won."

at clean up time, eleanor instructed her to complete some microscopic task repeatedly, and i became, as i nearly daily do, the sole witness to lucy's subtle lionlike tendency, almost exclusively awakened by eleanor's sass. the child is a characteristically quiet creature, but when provoked, lu's lion heart stoutly resists the disrespect. "eleaNOR!! that's not my job! i'm still working on THIS job and you're supposed to be doing those! don't keep making me do that kind of thing when i'm still trying to finish this because that's not fair!" eleanor, unflinchingly certain that she is the queen of the pride, maintains her boss energy but says little to lu's clearly legitimate refusals. 

there is nothing that sends blood through my arteries as forcefully as those small courageous cries of self defense from Lu in the little-sister-big-sister-bully scenario. absolutely nothing.