I am sitting here among the detritus of my toddlers’ lunches, waiting for my second cup of tea to cool a bit and trying to keep myself from Googling images of “Lyme disease” and “bullseye bites.” I have next to zero experience with the nasty buggers, and spent the first few weeks here completely freaked out, especially after reading this horrifying article from Outside. Seriously, consider this fair warning: my skin was crawling for days.

Beansie got the first tick last Friday. Not just her first tick, *the* first tick. Six months of playing outside, and the baby gets the first one. I found it attached just outside her right shoulder blade, almost in her armpit, and am so thankful that we’re a hands-on, tickling/snuggling/loving type of family – it couldn’t have been there more than a few hours by the time I found it. J extracted it while I commenced scratching my entire self. The bite has all but healed, and is just a tiny spot.

Today is gloomy and just so gorgeous in its true November-ness. We spent some time at the library this morning, and as we were snuggling on the couch afterward,  reading our books, I plucked a crawling tick from Beansie’s hair. Full-body searches commenced, stripping both girls down to their birthday suits. I found nothing else living, but there’s a small boo-boo at the nape of the baby’s neck. Is it a bite-sized boo-boo? Maybe, but maybe not. I can’t tell if I’m paranoid, if it’s a ring forming around it or if it’s just irritated from her little baby claws pawing at it. My fear is that I overlooked a tick yesterday, and let that disgusting thing feed on my baby all night.

We will take her to the pediatrician in the morning if it looks worse, but what’s really getting to me here is the fact that I can only keep her so safe. I have to let her wander and stumble and get dirty. She wants to slide down the hill in the yard on a cardboard box, like her sister. She wants to run and climb on rocks, like her sister. I can hover, and I do, but I can’t save her from everything. It’s an awful feeling, this tiniest hint of letting go and letting her do.

I guess it’s clear what’s weighing on my mind today.

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My parents should arrive tonight with all of their worldly belongings. They’re renting a small place from the same landlord, just around the corner, and our girls are thrilled to know they’ll be so close. I baked some beer bread this afternoon to take over for snacking, and will probably also take the rest of the butternut squash soup I tucked into the freezer last month. Moving is exhausting, and we don’t have any local options for food delivery; I don’t want them to worry about what to eat right away.

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We have a small garden started in the backyard. I laid down some of our moving boxes to smother what little vegetation was in my chosen plot, and we collected rocks from around the yard to build up the sides. One of my goals for next planting season is to spend as little money as possible, so we’ll be using found materials and I’ll be watching the seed exchange box at the library. Ms. Linda’s open invitation to come get horse manure is so wonderful, and laying it over the cardboard now will give it a chance to season and break down throughout the winter. I’m hoping to get another bed of similar size completed before the snow flies. We have plenty of boxes, there’s no shortage of manure, and somehow, I don’t think we’ll have any trouble collecting more rocks – they are our new state’s main crop, you know!

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