Outdoor Education

Spring has finally arrived which means tugging on our rubber boots and heading out for walks in the local “forest” after the morning drop-off at school.

“I’m just going to get that big stick.”

“Actually, it’s still in the ground, so it’s a tree, not a stick, we’ll find another one.”

“Ok. Hey! Look at the bird’s nest – another one! Another one! ANOTHER ONE!”

And so it went. We tromped around in the newly thawed earth, enjoying the sound of our boots sticking in the mud.

“There’s that green stuff! And there, and THERE!” Today we learned that “green stuff” is moss and likes damp, dark places. Followed by a timely reminder of why we empty our lunch bags every day.

“I can see that tree used to have three parts. Why is it on the ground now?”

As we discussed the possible reasons a tree might fall, I basked in the glow of the intermittent sunshine, the smell of the world finally waking up to spring, and the sounds of birds chirping. I might have even been feeling some pride at my laissez-faire approach to the day. I have no agenda, I’m just going to relax and savour this time with my little guy, look at me being so “in the moment I’m not even taking any pictures.”

My reverie came to a screeching halt.

“AHHH! AHHHH!”

On the path, less than one metre away was…

a

dead

duck

And it was HORRIFYING.

We both gawked in silence for a moment and then ran away. I mean RAN.

I don’t know why I was running, I’m an adult, but Little told me “I thought he was going to eat me.”

At this point, I tried to get back to our previously fun adventure mode. I suggested we take the long way home, maybe check out the creek. Little wanted nothing to do with that. Offers to go to the park were declined. “Let’s just go home,” he told me.

I could not get the dead duck image out of my mind and wondered how much it scarred my youngest until he chirped up, “I HAVE to tell the boys what we saw.” And moments later we spied a worm on the sidewalk that he concluded was “napping.”

Childhood innocence remains intact.

As for the duck? I took care of it. I left a long, detailed voicemail for the people who take care of those things. I’m sure they’ll have no trouble finding the duck corpse “in the forest behind the school right near the fence that lines the soccer field, not the field by the road, the one at the back of the school yard. On the mud path, by a tree.”

Now I know what to do if I come across a dead dolphin.
Now I know what to do if I come across a dead dolphin.
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Moyerangelo

Welcome to the Sneak Peek of my upcoming Art Extravaganza! You might be surprised to learn I am just four years old, but talent and inspiration can strike at any age.

Currently, this exhibit is housed in my bedroom. I like to think of it as a constant work-in-progress since my roommate has very little impulse control.

This piece speaks to my love of gum. When I was young and reckless, I occasionally left my chewed gum on the carpet. Mmmm….gum.

Tribute to Gum
My Gum, My Love

This next display was a random inspiration I had when Mommy called up that it was time for breakfast. I tossed those sticker frames down and when I returned, I was just as smitten as you are.

The lines, the use of space. Inspired, I know.
The lines, the use of space. Inspired, I know.

It’s funny, when I began this particular piece, I was going to go with one or two sheets, but once I got started I realized more is always better. See how the creepy wooden bear accentuates the pumpkins? And I love how the multi-colured squirrel plays off the green in the monsters.

Haunted Monster Mash Up
Go Ahead, Choose One, But Not THAT One

I feel it’s important to encourage the artistic drive in others, so I let my little brother try his hand. I really like how he played up the different textures here: carpet, bed skirt, paper. He might be ready for his own exhibition soon, that little Picaso.

Sticker Carpet Study
Sticker Carpet Study

Here I tried a little something with metal and wood. I like the contrast of the black sticker against the white canvas of the closet door.

Closet Door: Gateway to Diapers
Closet Door: Gateway to Diapers

A different approach with furniture as my framework. Not as bold as the white, but the warmer look works, too, don’t you think?

Top Drawer
Top Drawer

Now this one I am particularly proud of. I tried my hand at something more whimsical here just for Mommy. “Oh, no, another diaper change – wait! What’s this? A darling sticker from my favourite son.” (I just know that’s what she’ll say).

Diaper Surprise
Diaper Surprise

This final selection has me stumped. I’m not sure which look to use. The first is the safe, classical approach.

Retro Sippy Cup
The Cup

This one is just a little edgier with the dirt clod in the background. Maybe it makes my work more accessible?

Retro Sippy Cup Slumming It
The Cup Rebellion

Please cast your vote to help me decide. Any art forms you’d like to see in my next exhibit? I’m very strong with glitter glue as well and I’m not afraid to delve into papier mache.

Let’s go for a “Walk”

“We’re going for a walk – get your shoes!”

I feel that instruction is pretty clear. We are about to embark in a jaunt around the neighbourhood and all you need to do is wear some shoes (crocs, sandals, runners, I am not picky).

I said “walk”, right? Oldest son decides to ride his scooter. Number 2 barely agreed to put shoes on and is sullenly waiting on the driveway. Number 3 wants his bike. No, wait, the wagon. No, no, his bike. Hold on, nope, the Little Tykes car. Toddler opts for this beat up 20 year-old push-train. I have tried to pitch that thing numerous times, but some small person always comes to its rescue. It whistles. IT WHISTLES WHEN YOU MOVE IT. And it looks like I snagged it from the side of the road. For the record, I did not. It was a kind hand-me-down from friends when our oldest was born (but it looks really sketchy now).

The Littles on wheels.
The Littles on wheels.
The little engine that will not give up despite my best efforts.
The little engine that will not give up despite my best attempts at sabotage.

We’re off to go around the corner. That’s all. Just killing some time before dinner. The Bigs take the lead and go ahead. I’m back with the Littles. Both are quite enthusiastic about the walk, especially since they are using equipment. This excitement lasts until we pass the third house. Better take a break and catch our breath from that intense shuffling. Go on without us, Bigs, we’ll catch up.

After we rally, Number 3 decides it’s just too much effort to “drive” his car so he is going to get out and push. I kindly start pushing it for him until he spots a weak moment and jumps back in and “lets” me push him in it. Parenting fail. But I plod on because he is having a really good time and won’t fit in there much longer.

I'll just lift my feet so we can go faster.
Let me help, I’ll lift my feet up.

At this point, the Bigs are a small dot on the horizon. We need to speed things up a bit. Toddler is unhappy with his train’s performance, so he decides to push it. Good choice, he’s much faster, but the whistle’s intensity matches the speed. It’s loud.

Turns out, that train is more cumbersome than originally thought, so toddler abandons it on the sidewalk. The Bigs are barely visible. I grab the train in one hand, push the car with the other, when toddler says, “Back! Back!” (translation: “piggyback, please, my sweet, beautiful mommy”). No.

Anyone see the Bigs? Anyone? 

Next time, I’m just lacing up my runners and anyone who spots me sneaking out of the house can join in.

Your turn – riding toys – love ’em? Hate ’em? Bit of both?

Why Mommy Needs Wine Most Nights

Our dinner table often resembles the opening segment of “The View”, but with small interrupting boys instead of loud, interrupting women. Recently the boys were discussing good artists they know. That is to say, their teachers. The almost 4 year old does not like to be left out. What follows is his contribution to the discussion.

A4YO: Mrs. Winston draws good pictures, too.

Me: Who is Mrs. Winston?

A4YO: You know, Mrs. Winston.

Me: Who is Mrs. Winston? Is she from church?

A4YO: No. Not church.

Hubs: At preschool?

A4YO: No. (insert condescending chuckle)

Me: I’m wondering about this Mrs. Winston. Is she at the boys’ school? (sidebar to older brothers reveals no such person exists at the local public school).

A4YO: You know, Mrs. Winston.

I’m beginning to suspect this Mrs. Winston is completely made up and sad that it took me this long to figure it out.

Me: Tell me more about this Mrs. Winston.

A4YO: The one who lives with JACOB (slightly exasperated, definitely incredulous that I am unaware of the elusive Mrs. Winston).

Me: Who is Jacob?

A4YO: He lives with Mrs. Winston.

Me: I got that part, but who is Jacob?

A4YO: The one in the red shirt! (obviously)

Me: Ok, but who is this Mrs. Winston who lives with Ja—……who wants dessert?

I know when I’m beaten.

———

Sometimes you let them win, but sometimes you have truth on your side. I now offer you Example B.

We’re in the van on the way to SportChek. A4YO announces that busses are really a truck.

Me: Well, they LOOK big like a truck, but they’re not, they’re a form of transportation

A4YO: Actualleeeeey, no. They are a truck.

Me: Nope. They are a type of vehicle.

A4YO: Well, actualleeeeeey, they are a truck.

Me: You might think they are a truck, but they are a different vehicle.

A4YO: Actualleeeeeeey, they really are trucks.

Me: A truck would carry cargo or something, busses are for people. Vehicle.

A4YO: No, actualleeeeeey, you’re wrong.

Me: You think I’m wrong, but I’m right. Vehicle.

A4YO: I know, they are trucks.

Me: You can keep saying it, but it doesn’t make it true. Type of vehicle. (insert slightly hysterical sing-song voice).

A4YO: Actualleeeeey, no. You’re wrong.

Actually, I’m just going to accept that a preschooler’s mind cannot be changed. Even in the face of indisputable truth.