Emma is a girl after my own heart. As we were walking to the babysitter's house this afternoon, she kept picking up pebbles and fir cones off the road. Eventually she had too many to hold, so she started putting them in her pockets (she just recently learned what pockets are for) until her overalls were so saggy she could hardly walk. Then she started handing them to me.
I find this a heartwarming trait in my offspring, because when I was in elementary school, I was forever collecting pebbles. I always had a row of them on the ledge inside my desk. (Remember the desks with the lift-up lids and a well inside to store all your books and paper tablets and secret notes and crayons and paste and pencils?) One of my favorite activities when I was in, maybe.....second grade? third?..... was something my best friend and I called "Crack," though it had nothing to do with what third-graders today probably know as crack. It involved finding pebbles and smashing them with a larger rock, in order to see what they looked like inside. This is a good game for kids in New England, since the roads are sanded extensively every winter and therefore lots of small to medium sized pebbles accumulate on the roadsides. Finding a quartz pebble was a very special occasion, no matter how often it happened. They were all dull and rough outside, but when you cracked them open, oh joy! Sparkly and crystally and shiny!
Anyway, I had the first babysitting shift today, while the other mom worked (she watches Emma while I work, and I watch hers while she works). Emma was having such fun with the pebbles that I decided to take her and Nick down to the beach after lunch, before they both went for nap. They had great fun. Nick, who is three, mostly wanted to climb around and throw rocks into the water, but Emma continued with the pick-up-pebbles-and-give-them-to-Mom thing. It was very sweet.
The beaches here on the island are beautiful and pebbly. I greatly prefer a rocky beach to a sandy one. Much, much more interesting.