You’re two years old and getting so big as you remind us so often. Everything is big to you. You want it big and you want more of it. Big tractors, big bulls, more hay bales. It’s a big world for our little farmer.
You might play with toy baby bulls, but if we ever mistakenly refer to you as our baby, you are quick to remind us “no baby!” But for not being a baby, you certainly are attached to what you sleep with at night. From the moment you were weaned, your milk cup became your security. We didn’t dare dream of putting you to bed without it. Mommy would find you fast asleep at night, holding tight to your milk cup with one arm, and often your water bottle with the other.
You learned to sign milk, but when you started saying it, the word sounded more like the physical action of milking than the white stuff itself. “Ump! Mo’h ump!” And lest Mommy get confused, “Dink!” means water, never milk, while “ump” means milk and never ever any other drink.
Then one night last winter, you needed more than just your cup of “ump.” You were standing in your crib, yelling for “Bull” who, of course, was hiding somewhere (probably under the couch where you get stuck retrieving your toys). When we finally found Bull, you could go to sleep. And thus began the tradition of sleeping with Bull — a hard, plastic, but thankfully not live bull. Soon Bull was joined by tractor and then trailer. And heaven help us if trailer came unhitched from tractor while you tried to fall asleep. The night time ritual had to practically begin all over.
When we took our three-week family vacation, we knew we did not dare leave Bull and tractor and trailer behind. I put them in a grocery bag and kept them hidden just to see if you’d ask for them that first night at the hotel. And of course, you did. So they stayed with your play pen, ready to pull out each night so you could have something of home and something to keep you company while you slept.
Home from our vacation, you got to celebrate your second birthday early, along with your big 8-year-old boy cousin. And your daddy gave you what became not only your favorite gift, but the only one you’d open — or sleep with! (Note to parents everywhere: always open the toys last.) It was a little version of Daddy’s big John Deere tractor and big New Holland hay baler. Complete with six little hay bales that each fit inside the baler.
I wasn’t going to let you sleep with the hay bales. Not when they were so small. But your crestfallen face changed my mind and you fell asleep to sweet dreams, with the tractor and baler on your pillow, hay bales scattered round you.
Now the bedtime call has became, “Moh! ‘ay bales! Moh! ‘ay bales!” Even though three are all we can ever find at once, considering little hay bales are a bit easier to lose than the big ones Daddy bales. And first thing in the morning, we’re awakened to the cry for whatever fell out of your crib in the night. “Daddy! ‘actor! Daddy! Baler!”
You’d almost think you were a farmer’s son or something. But we’ve decided that however stressful farming might be for big farmers, it’s ever so much more stressful for little farmers. Especially when your hay bales get lost so easily. And your brand new tractor breaks. You never do have all your tractors at once, either. There’s always one under a bed somewhere. Thankfully your Gators can pull your baler just as well, and one will often substitute for another, especially since Bull has gone MIA in been replaced by much softer but much bigger Bull, Bull (who isn’t really a bull), and Baby Bull. And whenever you do find that missing tractor, hay bale, or bull, your delight is always as abundant as the rejoicing over the lost sheep.
The problem is that between your tractor, baler, hay bales, bulls, and the ever-important cup of “ump”, I hardly have room in my arms to carry my little farmer! Because they do all have to get out of bed with you each morning, and come into Mommy and Daddy’s bed to snuggle awhile. There are days I wonder if I’m even snuggling you and your daddy or just the tractor and baler and bulls in between us! It’s amazing you don’t wake up more often than you do, with all the machinery and animals in your bed. I guess that’s just what comes of being a big little farmer like you.
Happy hay baling and sweet dreams, my son.
a big farmer’s wife and a big little farmer’s mommy