Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why Can't She Walk to School?

When we lived in Cincinnati my kids walked to school everyday. Of course I walked with them since I had a first grader who was afraid of a hedge apple rolling down the city streets. My oldest daughter is rather timid so I couldn't accept the fact that I knew even at the end of first grade she might not be ready to go it alone. Once my then preschooler started kindergarten, I knew they would have what it takes to walk to school together as a team. She has enough confidence for us all. I knew I would face unbearable judgement from the woman across the street who walked her 6th grader to school everyday, or for that matter, all of the parents that walked their kids to school or drove them hastily to school. I liked the fresh air and better yet, I liked that we got exercise in even the worst rain or cold temperatures.

I had visions. I dreamed of the stories my girls would come home to tell me about as they walked together without my influence or protection. I pictured tattling going something like this, "she crossed the street while the crossing guard was still in her car smoking". Or something to that extent- no, our crossing guard didn't smoke, but she did wish us a "blessed day" up until the last when I told her we were moving. Walking together I thought they would be able to conquer the world problems together as they got older, maybe not the world problems, but the playground issues they were dealing with or what ever it may be.

So when I read the article in the NYtimes entitled: Why Can't She Walk to School? I got so nestalgic for the town we left behind. No we didn't live in the suburbs like the article depicts, we lived in the city proper. Crime, sure there was lots of it, but I really believe everyone has their fears in life. I don't believe my children will be abducted the statistics are too low, they won't be bitten by a bat (really this is a true fear of one of my dear friends) but let me give you the twenty hour quiz if you want to drive my children in a car in the backroads of our new rural home. We all have our fears in life, can't one of them be to let our children find their way to school, get some exercise and see that the world is not out to kidnap or rape them?

But do I need to mention that my kids now take the bus? When they asked if I could drive them, the answer was a quick, "no, it's better for the environment to ride together". I drive everywhere now as one does in the country but I certainly miss the days of walking to school and really seeing what was going on in the neighborhood not to mention saying hello to other families and getting to know the kids on the walking bus. Even living in the rural suburbs of NYC, we aren't outside as much as we were living in the city. We don't have an automatic walk built into our day like we once did. We simply walk to the end of our driveway and the bus picks up every child at his or her driveway. Simple.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Babies in Our Tummies

I know better. I have read everywhere that you should refer to being pregnant as having a baby in your uterus. Not sure why, but I do remember reading about it and thinking it all makes perfectly good sense- they aren't in our stomachs food goes there, so don't teach an incorrect fact.

This morning Penelope and I were having a snack of yogurt (she calls it Ogurt, much like Shrek food) at the dining room table and we were chatting about various things like the Halloween decorations we put up last night and the funny berries in the Yogurt, when she asked if she could go back into my tummy where she came from. She was ready to return. I gave her the sad news that she doesn't get to go back, it's a one time free ride. "But I really liked it in there". Okay freaky if she really remembers it. But all the same, I said "no".

So how did I get there?

Rather than getting into a long explanation about the facts of life at three, I stated that she was pretty much like a seed growing there. She started out so small, then grew big enough to come out. But how did I get a seed in there? Did they cut you up to put my seed in there? Can we cut you up so I can get back in?

All valid questions how could I argue with such logic?

They did cut me up to just a little to get you out since you were stuck, but that isn't normal.

So if they can cut you up to get me out, can't they cut you again to get me back in there, I really want to be back in your tummy.

Realizing we aren't getting anywhere, I try to finish it up by saying it's just not an option again, you only get one chance to ride inside of me. Starting to lose interest too she finishes up with, "So it must be just magic I guess. It must be the tooth fairy putting the seed inside you. I just love the magic tooth fairy."

Me too, sweet girl, me too.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Get Back to Nature- Get Outside

When moving to NY, we spent a few weeks trying to find where outside the city to live. It was pretty easy to fall in love with Westchester county. We loved all of the trees and parks at our finger tips. For a family that spends so much time outside, it seemed like a smart choice for us.

The town of Bedford offers a class through the Recreation and Parks Department called the Wonders of the wild. The class is for parents and children to get together and spend time in nature at various regional parks. Being new to the area it seemed to make sense, I might meet other parents that enjoy being in nature with their little ones, and I might find a new park or two. The class starts next week, I'll keep you posted.

On the weekends, I found myself Googling parks and trails where we could take the kids and dog. As I was driving around I would keep my eyes open for trails I hadn't found yet. I thought I had found everything within 15 miles of our house, until I discovered this map and website. There are hiking trails only minutes from our house! How long might it have taken me to find it without this fabulous map?

Also included in the website is a great printable book on things to do in nature. I'm not certain I'll print in, but without a doubt, we will use it for suggestions before heading out when we need a little motivation.

The time U.S. children spend outdoors has declined 50% in the past 20 years, according to the Ad Council. The Forest Service is hoping to change this startling statistic through a PSA campaign entitled “Where the Other You Lives.” I can't wait for my older two to get home from school to show them this website and let them help me pick out what to do on our nature hike.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How to Exercise Without Knowing It

I know this isn't a weight loss blog, but I couldn't help but want to share this smart article. I come from very thin people, both of whom follow all of these practices. It certainly is more fun to work in the yard than go to the gym... not sure if it's more fun than yoga with friends, but it's a start.