Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
"They went outside every day, rain or shine, and thought it was great to do things like give the kids cups at a water table and allow them to soak each other. Usually when Erika went to pick up Connor, he usually was in no rush to come home, and the layers of dirt and grime on his face and clothes was amazing. But his grin was huge, and that was all that mattered. Connor loved being able to roam around outside and jump in puddles."
Now, why doesn't NAEYC certification include a column on: gets children muddy and happy?
Here's my wish for 2009: May your days feature grass, mud, and grins, and may all your childcare providers play outside...
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
When I was a grad student in weed science, I craved the power of farm equipment. I rarely got to touch the tractor keys until I was pregnant with Emily, and the guys I worked with finally let me drive because they were too worried about my delicate condition to let me help pick the rocks out of the field. Normally I would have objected to any concessions given due to pregnancy, but control of the tractor key was an opportunity not to be missed. So instead, I drove the disk, or the bucket loader, or whatever it took to keep myself useful and busy in the research plots, lurching around the field with my awkward gear shifting and unpredictable hydraulic maneuvering. I didn't win any awards for driving, but I at least got to give it a shot.
But, here at Chatham 9.5 years later, Lynne and Kerri were not checking my credentials. They had 1 day with a dingo-rototiller, and they were glad even of my lurchy-driving help. We were three women alone with a piece of heavy gas-powered equipment and heady with the power of it. Lynne voiced what we were all thinking about the dingo eating the baby, but that was only the first laugh. Kerri and I got ourselves stuck, and then unstuck, and laughed. We shoveled out the compost and caked our boots with mud, and we laughed. We talked about the thrill of doing this ourselves, with no know-it-all male farm managers, and laughed. You can't quite see our faces in the picture, but when Lynne took this photo, Kerri and I were both restraining a laugh.
I can't speak for how the day ended, as I was only there for 2 hours, and I know it took Lynne and Kerri all day to finish. All of us have a very muddy pair of boots and a muscle or two which feels a bit different than it did before the weekend. The soil was too wet, really, and it still wasn't the best weather or timing for plowing. But I can state these facts: no men were present, the dingo still worked at the end, the garden got turned over for spring planting, and I loved every second of our time together with the dingo. I don't plan to clean off my boots, because I hope to get to do it all again. Maybe next time with a tractor.
Friday, December 12, 2008
The last couple of weeks I have been trying to incorporate exercise into my life. This is not the same as scheduling in a run, exactly, though sometimes it has involved that. It means that I am trying to figure out places I can walk and times I can take time to walk. On one occasion, I parked at the bank and then, after banking, walked to the video store and the office supplies store, neither very far away, but a distance I would sometimes consider driving. Last weekend I was feeling stir crazy and walked in snowy darkness around the school track while Brian got the girls ready for bed. Two nights ago, I took a detour around the soccer field before picking up the girls at afterschool. I took the teasel picture at right (weed of the month), though I was looking for foxtail. The detour doesn't count for much as exercise, but on the other hand it was better than playing scramble on Facecrack for the 200th time.
None of these little efforts have earned me a holiday cookie, and goodness knows I have a lot of those to work off already. But it's a start, and if I can figure out how to make my carbon footprint lower at the same time I reduce my personal waistprint, it could be a really productive winter.