Alex and Cassidy spent the majority of their younger years growing up in apartments, in homes without yards, or with yards that weren't safe to play in. The only safe outside time they had was at their grandparents house and at school. (And on the rare occasion we could go to the park)
|In their natural habitat.|
The girls, Emie and Dot, have always lived in a house with a fully fence and kid friendly yard. From the time they were old enough to walk (and not constantly eat dirt and rocks) we have set them loose in the yard to explore and play and get dirty.
|Emie and Dot made a habitat for a potato bug she named Elsa, because of course she did.|
I always wanted this for the boys, but by the time we had a safe yard they had become "apartment kids". They were so used to playing inside that they kind of hated the outdoors. Don't get me wrong, they enjoyed parks and riding bikes and scooters, but you couldn't just set them loose in the yard and expect them to entertain themselves... unless there were other kids or water to keep them engaged.
I felt guilty about this for a long time. Like I should have done things differently. Taken more time after work and school to go to the park and let them explore. Hovered less when we were in friends yards. Spent more time hiking and less time smoking at coffee shops.
Since we started homeschooling, Alex and Cassidy have had a chance to developed their own relationships with nature now. Alex enjoys going out to longboard and listen to music by himself. Cassidy likes to get outside with friends and play their own invented games. They both like to hike and climb when they're in the mood.
The boys do not like bugs. I don't either. No, not even butterflies. They have never picked up bugs and brought them to show me. Not pill bugs, not lady bugs, not worms, not ants.
Emie has started bringing me bugs. I think it's awesome. And gross. I have to touch them. It's definitely teaching me to overcome my own hang ups about our tiny insect friends.
If bug touching is the cost for having kids who love to play in nature, I'll pay it.
|Ew. Elsa, you're gross.|