Thursday, October 31, 2013

Toddler Outdoors v 4.1 - Finding, Looking, Understanding

I love being with my little dude outdoors.  He doesn't stop.  Ever.  He's not the most bonkers kid I know, but he is fast, and physical, and almost never rests.   For most of his four years, I've been chasing him in the outdoors.  He just goes, and I follow.  I have a thousand pictures like this:

From a mile up the farm road, Hank saw two other kids who were playing in a fort in this hedgerow.
I let him out of the truck, and this is what happened.  Happy Hank. 

He runs like he's living on the set of the zombie movie "28 Weeks Later."  The boy doesn't stop.  But at four years old, he's started doing more than just running.  While he almost never stops, he now runs to find things (and other kids).  He collects things.  He tries to understand where things come from, where they go, and why they are where they are.   He has the attention span of a cricket, but his curiosity and his mind are now moving his body around more than his desire to "just go."
We put the kids to work dragging cedar limbs down the hill, down the pier, to wait for the duck boat.
All for the promise of a boat ride, which they received (and behaved during!!!)

Hank had a thousand questions about the corn stalks ("tree trunks"), the corn cobs, and the new lines of winter cover coming in.  When we pulled up in the truck, he also got to see about 200 geese fly out, right in front of him.
Hank is still perplexed by the concept of hunting, "But....the ducks are nice."   He helped the older kids (5 and 8) drag
duck blind materials to the end of the dock.  3-year old Hank would have only lasted about three minutes at this task.
Mind-blowing.  Three weeks ago, the boy sat in a chair on a boat for about fifteen entire minutes with a fishing rod.
First, the fishing was horrible.  Second, he kept fishing for another half-hour once I told him he could stand up.
In a rare moment never before captured on film, two small boys sit and talk quietly on a beached boat.
No one was punching anyone, and no one threw anyone's shoes in the water. 
Yeah, a new era has arrived at our house.   No more baby.  No more whiny toddler.  Now there is this three-plus foot tall, 40 pound thing hovering around us.  He swings from monkey bars.  He can (and does) finish our sentences when we are sure he's not listening, let alone comprehending what we're saying.

He's a boy in every typical and stereotypical sense of the world.  He is brave and anxious, wise in general but foolish in the moment, and he has a constant thirst for more adventure and more information.  He'll turn down ocean-fresh tuna but loves street vendor hot dogs.  He's a boy.

For every day outside with Hank, I need another day to recover mentally and physically.  He runs flat-out for about 17 hours a day, absolutely every single day.   But I wouldn't trade it for the kid who wants to play video games all day and whose parents are already losing touch.  Nope.  I have my boy.  And for awhile, the world can't share him.  You'll get him soon enough.

And sometimes, he really does sleep.

But don't worry.  He'll eventually wake, and you won't catch him. Until he finds a dead crab, at least.


Main Line Sportsman said...

Start 'em young...well done!

Phillip said...

You've done a bunch of posts that I liked, but this is probably one of my favorites. It's been a long time since I had a little one, although my brother's grandson is a lot of fun (in smallish doses). It sounds like you are making the best of every minute, and that's gonna pay huge dividends for that youngster.

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