Thursday, October 15, 2020

A Little Chat

We're in the middle of our fall break right now. It was supposed to be a lovely, relaxing week. Instead it was...well...the week that it we'll be taking next week off, too, to recover from this week. And that's one of the reasons I love homeschooling—we can just do that if we want to (and we do). 

Yesterday for his birthday, Alexander wanted to go to the Chattahoochee. I didn't pack extra clothes for kids because I knew the river would be too high to play in. I did not account for tributary streams in my plans so the kids ended up soaking wet, of course, because the tributary streams were at just the right level for splashing in. Today I took the kids to the river again and this time I packed extra clothes for Benjamin, Zoë, and Alexander and although they 100% were planning on playing in the stream, even that was too high to play in today. The lovely bank we played on yesterday was absolutely flooded, river water was rushing from the river upstream and things were a little crazy. So the kids didn't get wet at all. 

I may have just discovered a way to keep my kids dry at the river—packing a change of clean clothes for them! It's Murphy's Law, right?

Anyway, here are the kids (yesterday) tossing some stones into the river from some stairs that were fairly well dry:

Here they are on the path, noting that the water is lapping right against the fence (when usually there's an embankment of sorts):

Here is the trail, which ordinarily is covered in grey shale but which is now covered in silt left behind by the retreating river:

Here are the kids at another staircase that ordinarily would lead down to the river, which is currently a little too accessible:

Look at this darling boy! Just look at him! (And don't you dare stop looking because every time you do he gets a little bit bigger.)

The mark on his face is from falling off the slide in the basement on Sunday. His version of the story is that Zoë pushed him off the slide. Her version of the story is that she absolutely did not push him; he fell off naturally. I'm not sure who to believe but wherever and however he landed he managed to bang up his cheek.

And then he decided he wanted a honey sandwich for his birthday lunch and—since he's a big boy now—he wanted to get the honey out himself. We have a big family so we buy a big bottle of honey and since we'd just emptied our last bottle of honey there was a brand new bottle of honey in the cupboard—a 5 lbs. bottle of honey! So he reached up on his tiptoes and inched that bottle of honey off the shelf and it landed—again—right on his face, right where he fell on Sunday! The poor guy! I honestly don't know if his cheek looks any worse, but he did have a good cry about it. 

Anyway here's yet another staircase:

And here's where the some of the riverbank washed away:

Benjamin was pretty pleased to have found such an active example of weathering.

Here's my sweet baby running after the big kids:

He eventually gave up trying to keep up with them and we wandered through the woods together while listening to Zoë and Benjamin crash through the forest ahead of us. Alexander was very interested in these shelf fungi. He asked if we could pick some and I said that I didn't know because I'm not very good at telling whether mushrooms are poisonous or not so I tend to err on the side of caution.

"Oh, they might be poisonous?" he echoed.

Then he stuck out his little finger and swiped one of the mushrooms:

"It didn't poison me!" he exclaimed. "So can I keep them?"

I told him that touching something isn't necessarily the best way to find out whether it's poisonous or not and that mushrooms tend to be rather delicate and don't last long once they're picked so it's probably better if we just leave them alone (plus, touching most mushrooms is fine; it's eating them we want to avoid). He was a little disappointed, but two steps forward and found this completely pick-up-able and carry-around-able thing. Score!

Warning #1: If you're squeamish, you may want to avert your eyes.

Benjamin was particularly enchanted by a gigantic earthworm he found on a log he and Zoë had been balancing along (she fell off of it and scraped her knee). "This earthworm is huge!" he said. "I didn't even know that earthworms could get this large! It's so long! And maybe dead. Yeah. I think it swallowed a nut or something and that's probably why it died but you have to see it! It's so big!"

Warning #2: If you're squeamish, you may want to avert your eyes. Just...scroll quickly for a little while or something.

He was yelling this to me through the woods, while Zoë is screaming her head off (because there's blood!). So I'm yanking Alexander down the trail so I can collect poor, injured Zoë, so I can rush off to catch up with Benjamin to stop him from hollering so. I got there just in time, too!

Warning #3: But for real. Something gross is coming up.

He was just about to reach down to pick up the gigantic earthworm so he could show it to me when I arrived at his side and saw what it was in time to stop him from doing so. 

"That's not an earthworm!" I said. "Those are entrails!"

"What's an entrail?" Benjamin asked. 

"It's the innards of an animal—the intestines and whatnot. Maybe of a squirrel or something. I don't know."

"So not an earthworm, then?" Benjamin asked. "Because it looks like an earthworm that swallowed a nut."

"It's not an earthworm that swallowed a nut. Earthworms don't even really have mouths capable of swallowing something as big as a nut."

Here is that curséd picture (I did warn you):

For future reference, I believe the longest bit is the small intestine. The stomach is hanging off of that (the "nut" the earthworm swallowed, if you will). The bits to the right and left are likely part of the colon (maybe on the right) and the cecum (maybe on the left). I'm not great with anatomy and this is...sorta mangled...but do you think this counts as a dissection? Asking for a homeschooling mom friend (joking, not joking).

Anyway, we left the entrails on the trail and ended up a little off the trail ourselves. The kids really wanted to explore the creek, which was much fuller than usually, making its merry way down to the Chattahoochee River. 

It took two of my children all of 0.2 seconds to end up in the middle of the creek, of course. 

Benjamin was measuring the depth with his trusty walking stick (that he'd picked up, like, two minutes before plunging into the water, but it was very trusty for those two minutes so it deserves the accolade):

Zoë is a little shorter and had a little more trouble getting across the creek and back again, but she didn't get too wet...

...her first time across. I can't say the same thing about subsequent crossings.

Meanwhile, here's Alexander sticking his bravest finger in to test the water:

Alexander is a very cautious child, which you'd probably never guess given the number of injuries he's had...but it's true. He's very reserved and tends to avoid new and scary situations. He's not one to just plunge into a flooded creek. 

Zoë, on the other hand, was soaked from her head to her toes. She was so shivery and cold that I had her take off her shirt so I could lay it in the sunshine. Benjamin took off his shirt to avoid Zoë's fate. And then Alexander had to take his shirt off, too, because he got one of his sleeves a teeny bit wet.

Okay, so this must have been before he took off his shirt. He's showing me a pretty leaf he found.

Here's Team Skins fording the creek again:

And here's Alexander fussing because, having joined Team Skins he got a little bit of mud on his fingers, which he then wiped on his shirt, only to find that he shirt was not there so he just wiped mud from his fingers onto his belly and this ew.

"Can I take this off, too?" he begged, giving his skin a good little tug. "It's all dirty!"

I told him that he could not. Skin stays on. 

We might be a pretty relaxed household but we do have some standards!

Alexander was so sad about having gotten muddy that we had to tell the kids that it was time to go home. Alexander needed to wash off with something that wasn't that horrid creek water (no thanks for that boy) and he couldn't just stand there being muddy and it was his birthday, for crying out loud (because, literally, he was), so we packed up to head home. 

But then we got distracted by this tree-bris (like debris, but specifically from a tree—get it?):

So while our shirts dried out a little more (and by "our" I mean "their" because I kept my shirt on—again, we do have some standards over here) we played on these fallen trees, which I presume were damaged in the storm and then felled before they could fall naturally and cause problems where the park didn't want problems:

It was so fun that Alexander momentarily forgot his skin had been irreversibly muddied (seriously, the way he was carrying on about it you'd have thought he'd been mortally wounded). Here he is showing off how very strong he is now that he's a great big boy of three:

And here he is bravely traversing this fallen log:

And here's Alexander dangling from a branch:

Our very last stop before really going home so we could wash off, have lunch, and open presents, was rolling down this hill:

It was a good day to be three!

1 comment:

  1. Looks fun! I like how anxious Alexander is about mud compared to Benjamin (I'm thinking of those pictures from your yard when he was wallowing in it!).

    Happy birthday, big boy A!