Saturday, March 3, 2012

Students, gather round

Whoa, I just got in from a very informative class titled "Why You Shouldn't Go Into the Child Care Field."

Well, I might have tossed out a few of those words, completely re-written the title and sat in class thinking of ways I could better use my time.

The actual class was put on by the local child care union (Yes. I belong to a Union. Do not screw with me. We have trains. Or is that Union Pacific? I forget.). There is actually a list of really fun-sounding classes that teach providers different methods that can be used to control children instilled in their businesses. The topic today was getting children back outside.

Let's pause here for a moment. Take a look out my window. What do you see?
 Well, this might not be exactly what it looks like outside now, since I don't actually live in an area where trucks are that color yellow.

This actually is outside my window. This is a nice day. It's not pouring, the temperature is hovering around 45 degrees and the wind is quiet (for now).

We don't go outside a whole lot here because we are California natives. This is what we're used to:

 Okay, fine. I lived 4 hours from the beach in California.

This is more like it, only more real and less cartoon.

You get the jist. I crave sunshine. I love leafy trees, green grass and being outside. What I have now, here in the PNW, is essentially an Irish landscape without the amazing accents. Oh, and my red hair color seems to be coming back. For a while there, we were afraid the sunshine had bleached it out. Sunshine and little tiny restaurant minions that suck the lifeblood out of you, but that is another blog post.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I'm supposed to haul 5 kids outside to play in the freezing wind and rain. Let me just get my boots. Not.

Don't get me wrong. I have no problem bundling the kids up in their puddle boots, rain coats and mittens and sending them out to play. I don't want to go out there.

I was optimistic about the class today, seeing as how these are people who have lived in the Northwest for years (I assume) and I hoped to gather some pretty awesome ideas.

Check out my list of suggestions from these PNW Natives:

  • It's cold.

Cool. Check out my suggestion:


Seriously? I've been spending the winter wishing I was more creative and all the others had to say was "it's cold out there."

The instructor had a  what do you call it... mission? desire for sanity? similar to mine. Kids need to be outside. Forget the television and computer screens. Make them use their imaginations.

I'm going to stop right here, because my anti-technology rant is long, unpleasant and makes Elle want to rip her phone charger out of the wall and whip me with it. All you need to know is that I am not a fan of the constant texting, cell phones constantly ringing (in the middle of class, lady with the Scottie Dog shirt!) and people's faces sucked into any kind of screen ALL THE DANG TIME.

The only real thing I enjoyed was making a list of things I used to do outside as a kid. I'd like share them with you (in case many of you happen to be those parents that let their kids watch tons of television. This way, you can fix that and you won't need to be subjected to my lecture).

  • Making tunnels through the tall grass and having hiding places where Elle couldn't find me
  • Picnics in the woods on a huge rock over by my grandma's house
  • Playing in the three-story tree house my dad built. An owl and a hornet nest lived in the top floor, so no one ever went up there unless my older brother dares us to.
  • Picking blackberries for hours with my siblings and friends. Coming back with purple-stains on our fingers and no berries in the bucket
  • Playing in the sprinkler with wild abandon
  • Spraying Elle in the face with the hose with wild abandon
  • Having a car wash for our bikes 
  • Playing in the Swamps of Sadness (from the Never Ending Story) down the dirt road and in the woods by our house
  • Stealing a baby chick from the neighbor's farm, leaving $3 in unrolled pennies on their doorstep and trying to convince my mom that one of our hens' eggs had hatched in the night. Having my mom call my bluff and having to return it (Brother, you know you were the mastermind in that. I don't care what crap you told Mumsie).
  • My dad taking all 6 of us kids to countless streams, rivers and lakes to get us out of our mom's hair for just a blooming minute. Camping with our cousins and having nerd fashion shows.
I could go on forever. Do you have a favorite childhood memory? Tell me about it.

I promise not to make fun of you (unless you're related to me. We all own rights to every ridiculous thing any of us has ever done).

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