Fungus, Moss, Nest

 Wild child on the trail

February 23 was a warm day, perfect for a walk along a muddy trail. Beren pointed at and said "fungus", "moss", and "nest". He has never before said these words.

Three different types of moss growing on and near one piece of dead wood. Neat.

He has been called a "wild child" by our doctor, who is a child of the wild, too. She knew the name was a compliment, and each time Beren lives up to the name, I feel so proud.

I think that things that are difficult for parents and children are easy. Easy if they are easy for the whole family. We like being outside. There are entire books, lengthy books and tiresome articles about children spending too much time inside.

We like bugs, earth, plants, rocks... Even ticks and mosquitoes are accepted. That's what daily tick checks, tweezers, and healing salves are for. None of us (knock on wood) have ever gotten Lyme.

Muddy, wet clothes (the porch always has a pile of wet and soiled socks and pants) are ok. That's what boots and an extra set of gloves are for. We walk in the rain. We play with umbrellas. We open the windows on windy days, just to feel the day's power.

Poison ivy, we just avoid it. Roses, step on over them, if you can.

Rocks are tough teachers, they are hard to lift and hard to climb, but nothing beats finding a salamander beneath or reaching the top of a big boulder with a parent's help.

We "allow" Beren to get muddy, to explore. And you know what, he likes to be outside. We've found our limits and established them - "No boots, no puddles" is one guideline.

We check ourselves from saying "no" and "be careful" too many times. "That rock is slippery. Here's my hand," offers better guidance and the opportunity to make a choice. My son will typically choose to go for it as he grips my hand or Jared's.

Saying something like "That rock is slippery" rather than "No" to a potential danger also gives simple words like "too" a lot of power. "That rock is too slippery" stands out against just plain "slippery".  Beren's climbed many rocks, and he gets it. Some are slippery, some are too slippery.

I've heard many parents, ahem, myself included say unhelpful things to exuberant and stubborn children. "YOU'RE GOING TO FALL DOWN AND HURT YOURSELF" is a life lesson for a teeny, tiny and scary world.

"Here's my hand" says you might need a little help. When the world seems a bit too much, seek my hand, it will be there.

It's a simpler life when the world is full of fungus, moss, and nest. And an open hand.

Spring ephemerals are up. Toothwort.