Sunday, January 22, 2012

On the difficulty and benefits of stepping outside of a warm house.

Saturday we all went out together in the late afternoon. It took us a long time to get motivated to go out. This is a pattern I have noticed recently. When we are warm and cozy inside it seems really hard to get all our gear on and go out in the cold. It's hard for the kids and grown ups alike. But then once we get out there we feel good and we have a good time. I know this is true for myself and I observe it in the kids.

Case in point: as we stepped outside, Simon said to Nate, "Dad, don't you hate this project?" Then before Nate had a chance to respond, Si was calling him over to "look how this dirt mixes with this ice! That's so cool!" This is how the outdoors works on you, how it changes your mind and alters your mood. Outside there is always something new to see and discover, especially if you are seeing it through a child's eyes. I tried to talk all this through with Simon because I want him to be self aware in this situation. I want him to realize that even though we (I include myself here) might hate this project when we have to put down what we are doing and go outside, once we are out, we enjoy ourselves. He agreed that this was true. Then he ran off and put his arm around his brother as we walked around the block. I put my arm around Nate and our little family continued to walk together in the cold, happy in the knowledge that a warm house was waiting for us upon our return.

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Our time yesterday consisted of a game of tag and a walk around the neighborhood. The walk was especially enjoyable for me. Some highlights:
-we clearly heard a lone bird and were able to spot him in a bush nearby… It was a male cardinal. We watched it quietly for a few minutes before it flew away. Then we were able to hear his call again and spot him in a tree across the street.
-we looked at lots of tracks in the snow and made our own.
-the boys noticed an ivy covered tree and wanted me to take a picture.
-the boys moved icy boulders away from the curb to reveal a river of gray slush. Messy but kind of cool.
-Theo picked up one of said ice boulders, named it his "ice bomb," and decided he needed to carry it home. We were still a few streets away from our house. It was heavy for him, but he didn't even think of giving up. He was giving himself a pep talk the entire time. "I can do this. I know I can do this. I'm almost there. I can do it.". I swear this five year old is the most determined person I have ever met.

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