First year homeschooling mom, here. Can I tell you about our nature walk today? Well. It SUCKED.
Can I say that?
I don't even use that word but it's really the only one I can think of that perfectly captures it all--the feelings, the melt downs, the frustrations, the lack of nature, the lack of walking, the copious amounts of whining. My goodness. My. Goodness.
For weeks I've been following along on Instagram as various other home school families do their thing out in nature. Things like collecting mating butterflies, WHILE THEY ARE MATING, which leads into meaningful reproduction discussions. Of course it does. (Mind blown.) The kids running wild and free pointing out birds they studied last week, finding rare cocoons, climbing through creeks, jumping off waterfalls, sketching fabulous detailed representations in nature journals. This really does happen, there are photos to prove it and I dream about the day we are enjoying nature in this way. Meanwhile I'm over here, "Hey kids, grab some gummies, we're going for a walk down the driveway."
After the announcement is made we have a good 15 minutes of lolly gagging around before we are suited up and ready to go. I already want to quit. Literally as we are walking out the door my daughter bites into an apple, forgetting that she has a seriously loose tooth. Blood gushes, She screams. Back inside we go. Wet paper towel to soak up the blood, crying and hugging. Hush-hush, there-there. And we're back on the porch. We make it down the driveway a bit and the moans begin, "It's too hot."
Why aren't they loving this? I ask myself. All the other kids seem to. Why don't they want to climb a tree? Run around in circles? Dig in the dirt? Build stuff out of sticks and rocks? ANTS!! I"m being bitten by ants. I wipe them off. I am on a mission and no little stinging pip-squeak ant is going to stop me. We are going to experience nature, and like it.
Thankfully at this point Jonah sees a birds nest. We are excited. We are about 50 feet from the front porch. He starts to reach for it and I yell something about the mama bird won't come back to it if we touch it. (I have no idea what I'm talking about). Then we realize its unoccupied. There are actually some dead leaves positioned in it where it seems like no birds have been in there for a while. So we pull it down. I'm imagining the cool picture I'm going to take and post on Instagram but then I start to wonder if we've done something horrible. Will the masses of nature-loving and well-educated IG followers yell at me? Are we bird home-wreckers? I don't know. We continue on. But we have a birds nest in our Wal-Mart sack.
Now we see some berries growing on a tree. They are so beautiful. Alas, I have no scissors and I'm not touching them because what if they're poisonous? About this time, Jonah needs to go pee. Awesome. Still can't be more than 75 feet away from the front door. Glory is crying for a drink. I send them both in. I make them sprint, because P.E., right?
I decide to follow to grab some scissors. After everyone has been relieved and reinforced, we head back out. I tell them we must procure 5 items before returning. We go straight to the berries, I clip them off. The kids ask if the leaf can count as one thing and the berries can count as another. Heck, NO, I say. We can do this.
So as to avoid ants, we hop onto the rock driveway. This is when Glory begins lamenting of the heat. Its about 75 degrees. She's saying she's itchy. Jonah is full of dread over the distance between us and our next destination, the chicken pen. All of a sudden both of their legs are "so tired." The moaning, the crying--it's unadulterated torture. I've already had my max bathroom cries for the morning. I refuse to let this get to me and yet, it is.
"Here's something you don't see everyday," says Jonah, holding up a used ziplock bag he found in the pasture. Thankful for the giggle and release of tension I decide turn ship and head us back to port. We've had about all of the nature we can handle for one day. Completely satisfied with a (possibly irresponsibly removed) nest, berries and baggie, the kids' legs find a sudden healing as they frolic back inside. Our walk comes to an end.
Will we ever be nature-enthusiasts? Will I be able to raise children who like the outdoors and know whether or not its OK to remove a nest or if the berries we're picking are poisonous? I don't know. But this will have to do for now. It's all we got.