Maybe it was those long nature walks with frequent stops to identify birds, flowers, and trees. Maybe it was camping each summer. Maybe it was the trees in my childhood neighborhood. Whatever the reason, I have a deep appreciation for nature. This helps define who I am personally and politically. One could call me a tree hugger, and I wouldn’t refute it.
When we are out walking, my son likes to stop at each tree and give it a big hug. This would warm my heart, a blossoming tree hugger, except that he give every light pole, parking meter, and bike rack the same love.
I guess I should be proud that my son is less discriminatory than me.
Filed under Funny, Nature
A detail from the fun playground
On Monday, the weather was unusually warm, so I put my kids in the stroller, walked the half hour to my daughter’s preschool, and then set off on a completely unresearched adventure. My son and I hopped the T and then got off pretty soon because it was still crowded with rush hour traffic. While the stroller is compact for a double, people still get snarly. I do my best to either get in a corner and be out of the way or be by a door and exit the train to let folks on and off. Can’t please those inclined to be mad at any inconvenience.
We ended getting off at a stop that has easy access to the Esplenade, a walking and biking path next to the Charles River. We stopped on a dock for a snack and to watch the cars, trains, boats, and planes go by. At each one, and there are lots of cars to watch, my son would say, “Bye, bye car!”
We continued on, and soon after passing the Hatch Shell where the Boston Pops play for the Fourth of July, we happened upon a lovely playground with some of the newer types of structures including a climbing rock, a curvy path, a zip line, and much more. My son was especially entranced by a spinning structure that had a disc to stand on and a pole to hold as it rotated around. We returned to this after each exploration of other play structures. He also climbed up one level of a rope climbing structure meant for much older kids. I was spotting him, my heart was beating fast, but he was steady and smiling all the way up and down.
We will certainly be returning to this playground, and we will certainly take more unplanned walks. One never knows what wonderful resources or experience are just around the corner.
Last week, I took my son to work, and on the way back we meandered at his pace on the way to pick up his sister from school. We had an hour to go a few blocks, and we took that whole hour. He loves to sit on things, especially when his feet reach the ground. On our route, he tested out every conceivable chair including this construction fence post. There were workers putting finishing touches on a site we have watched over the weeks, there were passers by, and there were innumerable things that I have no idea what they were. They did capture my son’s attention, but center to his focus was the concrete base that joined two fence sections. It was a perfect seat to be tried out over and over again. It also was a great platform from which to watch everything else and from which to start trying to climb along the bottom rail of the fence. This one spot, not one that I would select for interest level, maintained his focus for over half an hour.
Sunday morning, I took my son on a long walk while my daughter stayed home. She has been ill for a day or so, and when couch-bound, she watches Microcosmos, a film about bugs. My wife got some work done while we were all occupied.
My son has taken to finding spots where he can sit comfortably. This might be a low retaining wall for a lawn, the sidewalk near a fence, or the roots of a tree. One-and-a-half year-old sized seating is a fun perspective through which to view the world. Chairs appear where moments before there had been none.
My son is deep into the developmental stage of figuring out where things belong. He likes to put things where they belong even though his putting them where they don’t belong outpaces this particular developmental interest. That leaves plenty of things left for Mommy and Daddy to put where they belong even though we have long passed the neurological stage that benefits from this type of activity.
Friday, as my daughter attended her last soccer session of the week, my son and I walked around the large park. At first my son would pick up the occasional grass clipping from the sidewalk and deposit it back in the verge. We then walked on the track and soccer/football field where the artificial turf and rubberized surfaces really made the real grass clippings stand out. My son started picking up as many as he could to return to their natural habitat. Finally when he stepped into a knee-deep puddle on his way to liberate more grass clippings, I decided that we could avoid this issue by walking across the grass. It was wet from the morning’s shower, but now so was my son–at least from the knees down. I thought there would be no pavement pieces to put back in their proper place, and all the grass clippings would be fine. The mower that had left all of this fine sorting material for my son’s benefit had also run over several Styrofoam cups and papers for which my son tried to figure out the correct location.
This became a futile lesson in what we should and should not pick up from the ground.
When the kids are bouncing off the walls and my wife and I are too tired to manage them, it is time to throw them in the stroller and just walk.