Monday, September 26, 2011

the great outdoors.

Have you ever noticed that your kids never do what you want them to do, when you want them to do it? Is that just my stubborn darling girl? I doubt it, but just the same...

Her life has been filled with my longing for her to want to do things, love things. The greatest example: I worked diligently when she was younger to make her love being outside, digging in the dirt. For the better part of the past 4-1/2 years, she couldn't have cared less. But suddenly, that girl is outside all the time. In fact we had our first experience last week of M having to tell her she had to come inside because it was getting dark. It was one of my proudest moments as a mother. Right up there with the first time she wrote her name unaided.

She spent most of yesterday outside with her daddy. He's still working his tail off to remove all the insane overgrowth at the side of the house where our garden will live next Spring. (For the record, I walked outside at one point and the smell of freshly dug soil hit me immediately. It's a glorious smell. It's right up there with baking bread and my babies after baths.) S had been digging in the areas he'd overturned, and she discovered all kinds of bugs. She tried to "rescue" a caterpillar by putting him in a tree, but it apparently didn't work out.

We're also working to create her "clubhouse" beneath some very low hanging branches in the front yard. She and I raked all the old leaves out Friday, and now we're collecting rocks to make walls ala Roxaboxen. We've got some furniture to put into the clubhouse, too, but we need to slap a coat of Rustoleum on first.
She's also started collecting things from the great outdoors, and we talk about them, and I love every second of it. I've read about creating Nature Tables for kids, and I always thought it utterly ridiculous to have a space in one's house dedicated to crunchy leaves and rocks and acorn caps and other seasonal detritus, but then I looked around the other day and realized that my whole house is a big nature table. A significant percentage of our horizontal surfaces are currently housing all sorts of things. We've actually forbidden her to bring branches in the house for fear that she'll put her brother's eye out, so there's a stick collection just outside the door. You never know when you'll need a pointer, a sword, a magic wand, or a digging tool the second you walk outside. Luckily, we're covered for all stick related emergencies.
This weekend's coolest find was a magnolia tree seed pod whose seeds are exposed. They are bright red and lovely. We've also talked extensively about acorns holding the seeds for oak trees, the concept of which largely more understandable because of this book, and we found a ton of hickory nuts that were in various states of decomposition, so I was able to show her how the seeds get out of their tough shells.

We're very scientific around here. And our nails are all dirty.

Do your kids collect things from outside? Do you even want them to?


Strongmama said...

Last year, J collected a bunch of acorns from our yard. I placed them in a glass bowl and put them on the dining room table, along with some other fall decor. A few days later, I noticed holes in all of the acorns and little white worms crawling around. At least they were all in the bowl.

Just Another Idealist said...

Andrew was a TOTAL collector. I also forbade him to bring sticks in the house, but his pockets were constantly full of rocks. We would collect the cool rocks & we put them on a shelf on his room. It was kind of a pain in the butt carrying those rocks every time we moved. But he loved them SO MUCH. I'll admit, everyone once in a while I tossed a few out if I thought he wouldn't notice.