Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Here's the link to PUDLCRAZY's original post:
I absolutely agree with your sentiments here. When I was a child, we were put outdoors after breakfast and basically not let back in until supper time - you were fed a PB on white bread sandwich at whoever's house you were near at lunch time. If you were thirsty, well, most houses had hoses. And this was year-round, in suburban Philadelphia. If it were raining, we were told we wouldn't melt. The only time we weren't outdoors was when it was sleeting, and even then we were probably out briefly.
If we were "stuck" indoors, we had to entertain ourselves somehow - board games (which I was at least twelve before I realized weren't "bored" games - things you did when you were bored and that were boring) or standing on your head (one broken arm, here, from that particular game.) People had television sets, but other than Saturday early morning, they weren't considered things for kids to use.
My daughters asked me what we *did* outdoors, and honestly I can't remember. I know we didn't play games per se, like baseball. I remember we did a huge amount of hunting for turtles and frogs and salamanders (then put them back, because none of us had aquaria or anything). Mostly, I think we just were outside, in woods or fields, seeing what we could see. And we were allowed to go as far afield as we wanted, as long as we got home in time for supper.
Now, of course, it's not safe to allow children to live the way we did as kids. If a parent didn't see a child from early morning until supper time, in all likelihood the police would be called, and lunch has to be arranged as a "playdate" hours or days in advance. No one would think of feeding another parent's child without asking.
When my daughters were 8 and 10, my husband and I decided that the area in which we lived didn't have enough play space for kids - as you say, it was always an organized adult-led trip to someplace to explore. The neighborhood was also doing a gradual decline in terms of safety. That was when we picked up and moved out to the country in central NY, where they could take a dog and a friend (or just a sister) and go explore to their hearts' content. We could do this because of the business we owned (a small, independent trucking company - we could live anywhere within reasonable proximity of major highways) and probably isn't feasible for most folks.
One idea that might fit more families is this: we took the children camping every opportunity we had - that was how we spent not only our longer vacations but also any weekend we could manage. As a result, they haven't seen anywhere near as many museums as I wish they had, but they did get to see a lot of outdoors "up close and personal." You can visit museums anytime, but childhood outdoors comes only once. Stay in a tent or trailer instead of a motel.
We also made sure that everyone had a decent bicycle and arranged ways to transport all four bikes to biking places so we all got exercise and outdoor fun. The Rails to Trails program offers excellent opportunities, but here again, it's adult organized and led.
I was a Girl Scout leader, so we did as many camping trips as I could manage to arrange, and any nature-themed activity I could come up with - and there are plenty, if you use your head and your local library for suggestions. There are books full of outdoor or nature-themed activities for kids.
If you're the type that can put up with it (and I was) one way to keep kids tuned in to nature is to have a variety of pets - feathers, fur, scales, fins, shells, you name it, we had it at one time or another (except tarantulas *shudder*.)
I loved TRULYVISIBLE's idea of scavenger hunts outdoors on her property.
One artist I know had a big house in Philadelphia and also had five boys. She turned her center hall, with its eighteen foot ceilings, into a small basketball court. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't quiet, but to my mind she had her priorities straight. Her boys grew up getting exercise and having fun.
On birthdays, don't give a video game - give a badminton set, and be willing to play, too (and likely be humiliated.) Look in the National Geographic catalog for gift ideas that focus on outdoor learning and play. Also - and I hate to say this - we have to be "good examples" and walk outdoors instead of on our treadmills, be willing to play frisbee and fly kites and all that good stuff instead of sitting here Sparking.
Now that we can't just pitch the kids outside the way our parents did, I think we need to be willing to devote a little more of our time and energy into coming up with ways for them to play outdoors. I'm sure it would have been much easier for you, PUDLCRAZY, to show slides (or whatever one does now) of igneous boulders than to take all those kids out to experience them, but you went the extra mile and got them outside. It's not automatic for kids to want to go outdoors anymore - not with the siren call of the computer and tv - so I think parents and teachers have got to take the initiative to take them out and show them how much fun and freedom there is to be had outdoors.
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
One dog, three cats and $400 later, everyone is up to date on her shots, exams, worming, weighing and all that good stuff. We are now immune to everything, from rabies to other things too gruesome to mention.
But what I would like to mention is that mother cat and 4 kittens living under my deck and in my barn. These kittens are about eight, maybe ten weeks old and mom obviously has another batch in the oven. In a year and a half, mother cat has let me get from 1/8 mile down to about a yard away from her, but she warns the kittens off whenever she sees me, and they run like their little tails were on fire, so the chance of catching them, other than using big Havahearts, is slim.
Even if I could round up all five, and opted to neglect neutering the boys - a female in heat will always find a tomcat somewhere - say I just need to spay the mother and two daughters (2 out of four kittens might be girls - or they all could) - that's going to be another $400, (or, worst case scenario of four daughters, morel like $700) and more if the vet has to deal with abortion as well (just because it's a more complicated surgery.) After they all recovered from their surgeries, I'd have to let them go back to the barn, because a) that's their home and b) they all hate me, despite the fact that Ive been feeding the barn cat population for years. Spaying the girls, at least, is the right thing to do - it's also a mortgage payment worth of spaying cats that aren't even tame enough to pet, let alone love.
I live in an area that has summer visitors, and the number of cats wandering around my barns at the end of summer always jumps. People on holiday apparently get kittens for the kids as a summer toy, then just leave them, assuming they'll be fine. I have news for them: they'll be some coyote/weasel/fox/hawk/owl/dog's breakfast, or they'll be hit by a car, or they'll starve, and that's the sad truth. If parent's want their children to experience "the miracle of birth", let them rent a video; don't bring more kittens into the world than you are willing to be responsible for. Don't adopt a cat (or dog) you aren't willing to care for for fifteen or so years.
I don't know, yet, what I'm going to do about the mother cat and the four kittens, or the next batch that is clearly nearly ready to be born. I know I can't single-handedly deal with every cat (or dog, although not as often) that turns up in my barn, under my deck, or on my doorstep. I don't want to sound like Bob Barker, necessarily, but:
PEOPLE! SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS!!!
PS: I should add that I feed the cats that show up in the barn, not because I'm a soft touch or feel responsible, but because barn cats are hugely useful in keeping down the pigeons and barn swallows that otherwise make our barns dangerous (pigeon droppings) or unpleasant (being literally attacked by barn swallows.)
Monday, November 07, 2011
Still fiercely behind on my daily word totals for NaNoWriMo.
- i ate three actual meals today (still seems like an awful lot of cooking and cleaning up for one person.
- I met both my step (a modest 5000, but it means something if you've been sofa-bound for a year) AND my moderate activity goals today - plus found a weather balloon when walking the dog, which was a) one of my "other" goals (walking the dog, not finding weather balloons) and b) totally cool.
- I paid a pile of bills, which, to my way of thinking, let me off the hook for a bunch of other useful stuff. Plus, yesterday I was stung by a wasp when cleaning, so obviously that's too dangerous a task to be undertaken. >_>
- I made vet appointments for all the indoor critters, so I feel like a Responsible Pet Owner.
Not so bad for a total slacker. :)
Sunday, November 06, 2011
(This train of thought comes courtesy of all the people out in the hills today shooting at things. Bow hunters don't bother me as much, because all in all they're pretty skillful, but anybody can buy a gun and go shoot turkeys and small game....or their brother-in-law. "I thought he was a squirrel." Kinda makes ya wonder, doesn't it? But anyway....)
Since my husband died last year, I've been asked many times, "Aren't you afraid, living up there in that big old haunted house, way out here by yourself?"
Well, first off, I have no problems with whatever "haints" might be in my house. I've always been more worried about the living than about the dead.
Secondly, while I may have one of those little perimeter security systems, I rely on it more to tell someone if the house is on fire than to prevent intruders from messing with me. I prefer my back-up system of dog and shotgun.
I remember a story my grandmother told me about a friend of her who raised...I think it was cocker spaniels. She had a red setter, too - sweetest, silliest dog in the world. But my grandmother's friend, a gentle little writer, said that she knew if anyone ever raised a hand to her, that sweet, silly dog would tear his throat out without hesitation.
My grandmother always had Dobermans. Beautiful intelligent dogs and wonderful family members. But if anyone came to the door, the dog (and there were many over the years) would always stand between the family member and the visitor in the doorway, until the visitor was okayed by the family member. They always got up in the night, too, to "make rounds", and that sound of dogs padding quietly around the house, their tags jingling a little, has always given me a special feeling of security.
My Uncle David, my grandmother's brother, was a kind, funny man who raised bees and collected antique postal trucks. He was the one who taught me how to shoot a 12 gauge without dislocating my shoulder.
I've retained both dog-raising and shotgun skills, and honestly, while the technological security system is a fine thing, and I do sleep with my cell phone at my side, dog and shotgun are also right handy, and if I had to bet, I'd bet on them any time.
I'm jes' sayin'.
Saturday, November 05, 2011
I'm gonna choke 'em.
Let's think of it this way:
Your friend is diabetic, maybe has been from birth, or maybe developed it later, but the bottom line is that her pancreas doesn't make enough insulin, or the way it is used by the body isn't quite right.
Can you hear yourself saying, "Oh, for crying out loud. You're not "diabetic". You just think you are. You could make insulin if you tried. You just like the attention of everyone fussing about your pancreas. You can eat anything anyone else does if you just put your mind to it. It's all in your mind. Come on! Snap out of it! Make some insulin, already! You know, you're bringing the rest of us down with your so-called "insulin dependence." You're just being self-indulgent. All you need to do is talk to someone and your pancreas will be just fine!"
Sounds silly, right? Substitute "brain" for "pancreas", "depressed" for "diabetic" - it's pretty much the same thing. Depression is a biochemical issue, not a play for attention or a character flaw.
I'm glad we had this little talk.
Get An Email Alert Each Time SCOOTER4263 Posts