“I am going to rock nature studies this year! We are going on nature hikes and starting nature notebooks! This is the year we are going to get out there and learn outside!”
So I bought real sketch pads and expensive colored pencils. I got a book of Iowa plants and flowers to help us identify what grows naturally here. Last week I scouted for great places near by for us to have nature hikes. I found some about a half of a mile from our house. No problem. I will just get out the bike trailer.
This morning I told the kids, “Put on your hiking shoes and clothes we can get dirty in. We are going to have some fun this morning!” They were thrilled. I was pretty sure that a nomination for “Mother of the Year” was going to be coming my way.
This is where I would insert pictures of the kids exploring and finding treasures amongst the woodland creatures.
Sadly, no such pictures exist.
First, It had been approximately 4 years since I last pulled the bike trailer. I was fine but my children had little faith in my capabilities and kept yelling, “Slow down! Do you know what you are doing?” Ridiculous.
We arrive at the hiking spot, parked our bikes and started hiking…for a whopping 30 seconds. The rains that have gifted us lush, green yards also left ample breeding grounds for armies of mosquitos. It took less than a minute for us to each get bit a half-dozen times and we high-tailed it back out of the trees and to our bikes.
I would not be beaten by these little bugs. A quick ride back to the house for bug spray, and we’d be back in nature in no time.
“Can we be done?”
“This is a the longest bike ride EVER.”
I sprayed them all down and rehydrated everyone. I could see that our enthusiasm was waning, and a compromise was in order. We decided that we would get back on the bikes and ride to a much closer, smaller area with trees to look for treasures to bring back to the house to draw in our nature notebooks.
The boys took off exploring at once. The girls and I followed more slowly behind. The mosquitos were totally ignoring our repellent. This trip was not fairing any better.
Then my daughter walked into a spider web…with her mouth open. Complete Panic. I don’t know that I can adequately describe the flailing, the jumping, stomping, spitting, screaming and wailing. It was epic. Clearly she almost ate the spider and would probably die.
I called the boys back. It was time to be done. My youngest fell in the mud and kept yelling, “Bugs in my ears! Bugs in my ears” And more than one of my children said, “I think we have had enough nature for the day.”
Earlier today I had posted a picture on Facebook of my 7-year-old eagerly completing two math lessons before 7:30 a.m. If I share pictures of the good times it is only right that I also post the times like these when my great plans are eaten by mosquitos, and my children want to curse nature and die.