Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hank Discovers the Gunpowder River

This child is uglier, and maybe stupider,
 than my child.  Maybe it's that Mungo haircut?
Just sayin'.

As someone who's not formally trained as an environmental educator, I had, and continue to have, no idea of when Hank, my 21 month old son, will truly start differentiating between the indoors world and the outdoors world.   For the first year of his life, he clearly had no idea.  Over the last 9 months, he seems to have fallen into a mindset that the outdoors is really just a bigger version of indoors, with more stuff to see and a bigger space to explore.  And trust me, this is despite the fact that he gets outside every single day.

Today, I saw Hank's brain make a seismic shift away from that mindset.  It's hard to explain, but it was like his gears stopped and started turning in the opposite direction.

Long story short, I had to take the day off and hang out with him (sigh, cheap day care lady, not always so reliable).  Toward the end of the day, we had some free time and I hadn't spent any quality outdoor time with him.  We were in the neighborhood of the Loch Raven Dam tailrace (Gunpowder River), and I figured with the usual low flows, maybe Hank could run around on the gravel islands in the river.   The place has nearly 10 years of personal history to me (and my fishing, brother T's fishing, and my pre-blogging journal efforts), but that's all best handled in another post somewhere down the line.
I can't really explain the changes that are starting to take place in Hank, but on this day (and the following days we've taken him back to the river), I took pictures.  They tell the story a whole lot better.

Giant Horsetail - Pretty cool!

He pointed and said "Waddell" (water) for the first time!

It's not the bathtub.  It's not the beach.  So what is it?

He was just picking up rocks until I showed him that throwing rocks is fun, too

We had a great geomorphological discussion over whether these fines were colluvium or alluvium.  Just kidding.

Sopping wet, covered in wet sand, and using a rubber gasket (yay river trash) to whip the plants

The Hankster had such a great time, that we took him back to the river twice more over the weekend!

More rock throwing!

Don't really have a good explanation of what's going on here

Mommy told him to sit in the river, so he kind of did

Time for a bath, daddy!


Mike Sepelak said...

There's nothing more gratifying than watching the "changing of gears" as your children grow. Treasure it. Beautifully captured.

Unknown said...

Nice shots! You are lucky that you can share that with him!

Kirk Mantay said...

Thanks guys! It seems like being a dad is getting more and more fun (but no less exhausting) every week!

We have our "not fun" moments of course, but as Hank figures out the world and can ever so barely communicate with us, it's getting pretty fun.

Steve Zakur said...

Much cuteness. Thx for sharing. You quickly forget how damn cute they are when they grow up and start cussin' and get all hairy and obnoxious. Though you still love the little critters (even when they're taller than you).

Candy said...

He's a cutie - but then again I'm biased!

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