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.
Advertisements

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?