Friday, August 17, 2012

The perils of teaching your child about nature

Calvin helping me pick blueberries
The nature trails/forest around our house is full of berries and it is really fun to walk along the paths and snack as you go.  I decided, being the nature-loving mom I am, to take Calvin on a fun blueberry picking extravaganza.  I had visions of strolling along the forest path and showing him the joys of picking berries.  He loves picking the black currants in our backyard and successfully picked some without eating them all, so I figured we could actually do well on this mission.  We might even pick enough for blueberry pancakes tomorrow!

It turns out that Calvin was more interested in
finding sticks to hit the blueberry bushes than to actually pick the berries themselves.  That's fun too, so I'm focused more on picking berries and avoiding the spiders who are protecting the biggest berries (of course) than what Calvin is doing.  Every time I look over, he is scratching his stick in the dirt or something similar.  No worries.  This is what we are here for.
Spider in the center of pick -- a blueberry guard
A successful transfer to the bag!
A few times, he successfully picked some blueberries and managed not to squish them AND place them in the ziploc bag.  Wonderful! He's my own migrant worker.  Get to work son!  However, a successful blueberry in the bag means that he demands "payment" in the form of removing a blueberry from the bag and popping it into his mouth.  He doesn't quite understand that he can skip the middle part and just grab them from the bush to put into his mouth.  Anyway, so throughout our blueberry picking activities, he comes up to me to hand me nonsense.  Pinecones, rocks, you name it.  I'm like, "Ok Calvin, try to find a big berry."
That's a weird looking berry, Calvin
He comes back with a big something...not a blueberry but a very large black beetle.  He shoves it in my face and I just think it's a rock or something like that.  By the time I realize what it is, I freak out way beyond reason. If we weren't by ourselves in the middle of a forest, I would've been embarrassed.  I was doing my shiver/horror dance, where you can't stop your body from recoiling away accompanied with the hilarious combination of laughing and shrieking.
bettle legs...ick!
Here! Take it!
Calvin didn't understand why I was backing away from him and shrieking at him (laughing while shouting can be confusing, I suppose).  I kept laugh-telling him to "PUT IT DOWN! PUT THE BEETLE DOWN."  Does he? No.  In fact, he start squishing it. I can hear its exoskeleton crunching. OH MY GOD, PLEASE PUT IT DOWN!  It's little beetle legs are wrapped around his finger and Calvin just keeps looking at me like I'm insane (because I am) and smiling innocently as he keeps squishing it and it keeps crunching.  It crunched a lot and very loudly.  It's LEGS WERE STILL AROUND HIS FINGER and I'm in complete freak out mode now.  HE IS JUST STANDING THERE HOLDING A BEETLE BY ITS LEGS WHILE IT SQUIRMS.  Uhh...nightmare.  I'm not rational and I can't get him to put it down. After what seemed like an eternity (2 long minutes of beetle squishing) a flash of ingenuity comes to me.  Fortunately, having dogs has taught me that if they won't release something you want, you just have to trade out objects. I hand him a nearby stick and the beetle fell to the ground (thank god). Remarkably the exoskeleton did its job and the beetle survived.  Calvin danced as the bettle escaped and I learned a valuable lesson -- you can always laugh at yourself, but when your kid is laughing at you, you know you are ridiculous.

You can hear me out of breath (shrieking like a little girl is tiring). Calvin was delighted by the whole event.

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