Native Garden Adventures

Tonight I tossed together a random picnic dinner–the highlight of which was dessert in the form of still-warm peach crisp– and drove down to the Native Garden in Pt. Defiance Park.  While the park itself is popular and often crowded, this fully-fenced gem of a garden hardly ever has more than a small handful of people in it–and by that I mean it’s usually just us.  There’s a little gazebo in it with a table, so we spread a table cloth and put out the random food.  Let’s just say it wasn’t the world’s most well-mannered meal–the kids kept jumping over the side, sandwich in hand, to investigate a bird more closely or examine a flower.  Every time Ronan heard a bird, he’d yell, “Get the bird book!”–never mind that we couldn’t actually see it.  Once we had eaten some semblance of food, they were off.

Norah sketched the pond area, then a flower, then joined her brothers in “adventuring”–up the hill, over the creek, through the meadow.  Lots of running, imitating bird songs, watching deer, and general exploration.  The kids were loathe to leave, but we are so glad we left when we did.  Just as we were about to leave the parking lot, a deer caught our eye and we sat for a couple minutes watching it.  When it disappeared, we headed down the hill just in time to see two bald eagles that, because we were on a hill, were level with the car windows and maybe 50 feet away.  I stopped in the middle of the road as they swooped down, fighting over something one was holding in its talons, and then the angry birds (crows) came and they separated and flew out of sight.  Honestly, it was like something out of a nature film.  I’ve seen a lot of bald eagles, but never that close, and never doing anything but looking patriotic on a tree branch or  soaring far above.

On the way home, Aiden informed us that he wanted to start a journal and record his life.  Obviously, great idea.  But I know how much he hates to write–not the story-telling part, but the actual physical writing.  I’m sure it’s because his brain goes so much faster than his hand–I can’t always keep up when he has dictated stories to me.  Getting him to write more than a sentence is like pulling teeth.  It’s the one area so far in this home education journey that I’ve wanted to pull my hair out over.  So, of course, I suggest getting a special journal, and talk about what a wonderful thing that would be to keep writing in it and have a complete record of his life.  Since it’s 8:30 at that point, it wasn’t happening then, but he said he wanted to start as soon as we got home.

We walked in the door, and he asked for index cards.  I got him some, and he asked me to write for him.  I said nope–your journal, you write.  And he sat down and started writing.  Without asking me to spell anything.  In crazy-good handwriting.  I nearly fell off my chair.  He did eventually ask for spelling help, because he’d look at what he’d written and knew something wasn’t right.  But he wrote more than he’s EVER written in one sitting.  He also glued a maple seed to one of the cards, and the space left for a label was tiny, so I agreed to label it with “My brother found this.  It’s a maple seed.”  Here is what he wrote:

Aiden   Age 7
We just got Home from the Native Garden.  It must have been 5 miles.  We saw 2 bald eagles fighting on the way home.  I saw them peck each other 2 times.  Today was an awesome day…except the part where we had to go home.  🙂 LOL  We ate dinner in the gazebo.  I am getting bored.  I am going to bed right now.

While I sat with him, answering spelling questions as they came up, we chatted.  Once he started laughing, and said he’d almost made a “triple ‘m’.”  I said I’d done that once, and he wanted me to show him. I told him I’d just accidently added an extra bump.  He looked confused and said, “But 3 bumps isn’t a triple ‘m’–a triple ‘m’ would have 6 bumps.”  I stared blankly at him for a few seconds before I felt like a complete English major;).

He also told me that he doesn’t want to go to college (yes, this is after I told him that he can never, ever, ever put emoticons or “LOL” in a college paper) because I couldn’t come and he’d have to sleep there and take naps and have quiet time there.  Upon discovering that he could absolutely sleep at home AND go to college, he thought it worth considering.  He wants to take artist classes and be an artist.  It’s such a vast departure from other things he’s wanted to be that I tried to dig deeper and find out what kind of artist:

Me:  So do you want to be the kind of artist that draws pictures or designs buildings?
A:  I want to draw stuff and make sculptures and stuff.
M:  You mean like Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci?
A:  Yes!  Da Vinci is who I was thinking of.  I’m quite a big fan of his.  He…(A lists off a bunch of stuff Da Vinci invented, came up with pre-cursors for, etc. that I didn’t even know, so can’t remember to list them because my brain is obviously far slower than his).

Aiden didn’t go to bed until 10:30.  I’m so glad I let him journal and talk instead of enforcing a decent bedtime.  I’d never have known he didn’t want to sleep at college or that he wants to be like Da Vinci.

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3 Responses to Native Garden Adventures

  1. I’m glad you let him journal and talk too. Those kinds of moments are once-then-gone. Not that he won’t ever journal again, but if curtailed the first time he might not have!
    Sounds like a wonderful adventure was had by all. What a nice blessing to enjoy.

    • marriedminds says:

      To further my shock, when I got up this morning, he greeted me with MORE index cards–already written on!! He’d gotten up early and started writing!! Crazy, of the awesome variety:).

  2. Thanks for sharing this little bit of your world. It made mine happier.

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