“Go get a bug…”
(from my My Space Blog)
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Current mood: peaceful
So…. I’m reading Last Child in the Woods (only on p. 24), and I’m participating in a conversation on the SL forums about growing men in the suburbs, and I’m more convinced, and more committed than ever about the importance of NATURE in the everyday life of kids.
We do more than the average family, I think, in regards to Nature. I’m a birder, and point out (or the boys point out) birds wherever we go, and they can often name the species. I quiz them about the common flora in our area. I make sure they have outside playtime every day (which gets tricky when the highs are 110*+). As a family, we usually camp every year. We hike in the Fall & Spring when the weather is right. The science that we do for home schooling frequently takes us outdoors…
But, I’m now on the hunt for more and better ways to incorporate Nature and its importance into our everyday lives. Maybe I’ll get another book on it, after I finish Last Child, but with me… I’m not very inventive, so it’s much easier for me to read an article on Six Easy Steps to Bring Nature into Your Life and then incorporate one or two. But then, it fades, and I’m back to doin’ what I’ve always done. So, I’m stretching my brain for ways to do this, on my own, so maybe we’ll OWN it, and it will become more a part of our lives.
After lunch, the boys wanted to play their Star Wars plug & play game, and I told them, “Each of you get a Ziploc sandwich baggie, and find me a bug in the back yard. You can play Star Wars after everyone finds a bug.”
I have already decided, after each boy’s comment, that this Bug in a Bag idea was a good (and needed) one, but that I wouldn’t let them go longer than 20 minutes, bugless. This is so that they wouldn’t get discouraged, and also because at 1:00, it’s already over 100* out there.
As I’m nursing Audrey on the couch, I direct them to where the baggies are. After they totally dismantle the baggie/plastic wrap/aluminum foil, etc., drawer, they’re on their way.
Ethan, of “there’s no bugs,” comes back in after less than two minutes, a little beetle triumphantly bagged. I ask him to tell me about it, trying to get him to look closer, and use his powers of observation. He tells me a bit, then asks, “Can I go get a magnifying glass?” Well, of course! Now, I feel triumphant!
Then, Wes comes in, in tears, saying he can’t find a bug. I tell him to go back outside and look in the grass. He goes back outside, convinced he’ll never find a bug. Ethan comes back with a magnifying glass, and tells me a bit more about the bug. I tell him that he can dump the beetle out on a white paper plate so he can see him better. After Ethan spends a few minutes peering at his new bug buddy, I ask him to go help Wes, with suggestions of where to look.
Then, Audrey’s done eating so the two of us head outside, too. It’s hot, but at least the patio is shady. She stays in her carseat/carrier, while the boys and I are all sitting on the concrete patio, looking at the crack where it meets the house. Grant bags a little bug that looks like a miniature earwig. Then, Ethan spots an inch-long green caterpillar. His fingers are too big to get it out. He uses a dry piece of grass to try to dislodge it, but he can’t get the caterpillar out of the crevice. Wes reaches in, with his smaller hand, and picks up the caterpillar. I’m encouraging him not to squish it, but Wes is trying to unroll the caterpillar, who has balled-up in a defensive position. Wes says, “Oh! He puked!” We all discuss if it is indeed caterpillar puke, or poop, or juice from the caterpillar being squished. We’re not sure which it is. Wes, who doesn’t like bugs, decides to name his new pet “Greenie” and asks me to find a jar for him. I get a medium sized baby food jar, and all of us gather bits of plant material from around the yard. I top the jar with 1/4 of a torn Kleenex, secured with a rubber band, and voila! Greenie has a home.
This entire event, start to finish, took about 25 minutes. But, when we came inside, we were all chatting happily, and I felt better about letting them spend a bit more time in front of the TV… only 10 minutes each, then off to Mom’s Mandatory Quiet Time (nap time for Wes), those 90 minutes of sanity-saver that is a habit in our home.