I’m sitting on a log outside, its a nice hot sunny summer day but the shade is quite nice. A breeze blows gently off the pond. The smell of fresh cut grass wafts into my nose. The birds are chirping, locusts buzzing, the sound of the leaves swaying in the breeze sound so serene. Off in the distance a heron stands in the large pond searching for fish to eat. I take a deep breath, close my eyes and…
“Mom? Look! I found a dead bug in my pool!” My 5 year old daughter comes running over to me with much excitement. She has a dead grasshopper on a stick.
“Oh my. Poor bug, maybe you should go bury it!” I suggest. Aurora agrees and runs off to the garden.
Clouds begin to roll in, the nice light breeze continues and a few birds fly over head.
“Mom! Want some pie?” Aurora asks. While she had been burrying the grasshopper she decided to make some mud pie. She presents me with mud on a plate. She is also covered head to toe in mud.
I’m about to scold her for getting so dirty when I remember that I used to make mud pie as a kid. It was fun, we used to shape the mud into hearts and leave them to dry in the sun. I got dirty often, I loved to put my feet in the nice cool mud. “I would LOVE some pie!” I reply as I pretend to eat her creation. Aurora smiles at me then offers some to the dog.
Bugs, Mud pie, tree climbing, fort building and exploring are all some of the passtimes that I did as a kid. These passtimes have become less interesting as I grew up. Bugs just don’t interest me, I would rather not get dirty, it’s been years since I scaled a tree or built a fort, I would rather relax than explore. But my 5 year old is always ready to go. She’s always waiting to explore, anticipating daily adventure. Her curiosity never ceases.
My daughter scales a small crab apple tree at the park, she’s just loving it and ignoring the park equipment. This brings a big smile to my face until another mom approaches me and scolds me for letting my kid climb the trees. “You need to be more strict with your kid! My kids are trying to climb the trees too because your child is up there and I don’t want my kids up there. Could you tell your kid to get down?” For a moment I feel like an irresponsible parent. I’m getting looked down on by an older mom. I tell my kid to get down and this dissapoints her. Then I realize that I’m in charge of my own daughter, nobody should tell me what my kid can and can’t do. “I climbed trees as a kid, you probably did too and we didn’t get hurt! Aurora, go ahead and climb the tree but just be careful okay?” I say. I get glared at and simply ignore it. Climbing trees was a highlight of my childhood, I climbed any tree that was climbable and never got told off for it. Watching the joy on my lil monkey’s face is rewarding.
I just cleaned my living room. Five minutes later all the cushions are off the couch and my daughter is busy fort building. So much for my tidy and neat livingroom. I grab an extra chair and sheet and begin helping my daughter build her fort. As much as I wanted to scold my kid for making a mess I just can’t. After all, I did the exact same thing. Most of us used couch cushion to build forts and obstacle courses when we were kids. Hours were spent making forts, the TV was ignored and so many adventures occured in our caves and houses and labrynths. I jumped on the couch when mom wasn’t looking, I piled the cushions and dove into them, so many happy and fun memories. My Daughter pretends to be a lion in her cave, there are giggles and laughter and a big smile…music to a mother’s ears.
As we walk through the woods, I start to complain that I’m tripping over stuff. My Daughter runs in front of me, skipping through the woods and observing everything. She’s on a big adventure and I have forgotten all about adventure. I begin asking my daughter questions about the woods, I point out plants and animals. We find a really cool caterpillar and we sneak through the forest as to not wake up any sleeping animals. My daughter is having a blast. She pretends that we are walking through the jungle and we might encounter a tiger. This brings back childhood memories of hiking at Fundy Park in new Brunswick Canada. I was on the look out for chipmunks and snakes. I was observing the woods for bears and wolves because I was the scout and I was going to notify my hiking group if we encountered any danger. Every hill and obstacle was an adventure and best of all it was excersize for both myself and the adults with me. I would spend hours at the beach collecting shells and sea glass. Even when I was a teen I would go to the shores of Lake Ontario and hunt for fossils. These are things that I need to show my daughter, I know she will be intertested.
Sometimes adults need to be kids. Sometimes we need to go and get dirty with our kids. Sometimes we need to be as interested in exploring as they are. We need to allow our children to be children! A lot of their learning is from what they are exposed to in every day life. Some days you just need to drop the dish cloth and broom and join in…it’s well worth it.