|This adorableness released July 12, 2016!|
My childhood was nourished by the trees and creeks of Watertown, Tennessee (pop. 1200). Growing up with two brothers, I had a hard time finding Barbie playmates (unless you count the time that G.I. Joe’s tank crushed her pink corvette). So I conceded to spending my days with the boys, climbing the peach trees out back, convincing my little brother to chew the gummy sap, and impatiently waiting for the fuzzy fruit to ripen.
My brothers and I would cross the road and climb down into the creek that stretched out in front of Slim Winfree’s big white house. Rumor had it, he buried jars of money all over his yard. But we never found any. We did find other treasures: crawdads and minnows and, my brothers’ favorite, snakes. They would chase me around, trying to put the green, scaly nose in my face, and I would run screaming—that is, until I figured out the game: it wasn’t much of a chase when I didn’t run. They wondered how I suddenly became so brave.
In the summer, the three of us would spend our days at my Mema's house, where she grew elephant ears taller than we were and let us slide down the banister in the front hall. We would scamper up the chestnut tree that shaded the front yard, and when the time was right, we’d carefully gather the spiky spheres, sit on the front porch, and crack open the shells to harvest the crunchy, golden chestnuts inside.
“Can we check for eggs?” we’d ask no less than ten times a day, and she would walk us to the chicken coop in the backyard. We scattered crushed corn at our feet, giggling when the chickens came running and squealing when they’d peck at our shoes.
“Easy, now,” she’d say, as we reached into the feathered nests in rows of wooden boxes. She held her wildflower-blue apron out in front of her like a net, where we’d gently place our bounty for safe transport, back up the porch steps, past the cellar and the wringer washing machine, and into her 19th century house.
I can still see it and feel it and smell it, as if I were standing there now.
There is an unforgettable, heart-aching beauty in a childhood nourished with the wonder of God’s amazing creation. I want everyone to experience that wonder. And we can help them by taking kids and their parents on a walk back through the farm.
The sun sinks low down on the farm,
So for now, we'll say, "Night night"And sleep until the rooster crowsTo wake the morning light.Night night, farm......Three woolly lambs, like puffy clouds,Float gently down to sleepAnd dream of hoppy, happy daysWhile they are counting sheep.Baa baa, sheep.
Mice and pigs, chicken and cows—
Your preschooler will mosey through the bedtime routine and say night night to the piggies and cows and kittens with oinks and moos and meows. There's also the repetition that kids love to recite and the soft rhythm and rhyme that lulls them to sleep. Above all, the illustrator, Virginia Allyn, has outdone herself with this adorable art, inspired by real farm animals in pajamas . . .Squeak, oink, cheep, and moo . . .Oh, the animals God has made!And, hey, He made me too!Night night, God.
We hope that all of this comes together to offer you another tool in your bedtime arsenal. Let me know if it works! Here's hopin'!