Parks, Pain and Pessimism

Parks, Pain and Pessimism

I have recently purchased a new bike for myself, as well as a two-seater trailer for the kiddos.  My first attempt on the bike was a success considering I haven’t really been on one since…oh…middle school.  I didn’t fall off or maim myself or anything!  However, it literally only took me a couple of blocks pulling the girls in the trailer to figure out that, ONE:  I needed a different seat.  Who knew lady parts could hurt so much from merely sitting on a seat?!  And TWO:  I am really, REALLY out of shape.  Really.  Oh, the aching, burning legs!  What in the world was I thinking?!  Who in their right mind waits until they are several months pregnant to start a new strenuous activity?    Apparently me…but I never claimed to be in my right mind anyway.  So, moving on.

I didn’t get a lot of use out of the thing for the next several weeks while my bruised ego and bruised…um…well, you get the idea…healed.  However, around five months into the pregnancy, it was another lovely day and I spent a good chunk of it giving myself a pep talk that I truly could actually make it to the park that’s a mere 2-3 blocks away without killing myself.  And, lo and behold…I did.  Yay for me!

Tater Tot rode her bike and I pulled Boo Bear and Sweet Pea along behind me, only needing to stop for a mini-break once along the way.  (Pathetic.  I’m aware.)  But…we made it there and back even.  So that’s what counts.

We had a nice time at the park, as we usually do.  This one is nice because it is nearby, but also because it is on the lake and because it is a very simple park.  There isn’t much to it and that is precisely why I like it.  Without all the twists and turns and slides and thingamabobs of a fancy super park to continuously entrance the girls, they actually take time to observe and appreciate their surroundings.

Butts ParkThe girls were picking leaves pretending that they were parts of a gourmet meal they were going to prepare.

Butts Park (1)A favorite area is the dock.  The girls can spend quite a bit of time just running back and forth on it, tossing rocks and leaves and other debris into the murky waters beneath.  They spotted a fish floating sideways near the surface, which I initially said was dead, but then it wiggled itself along, much to my surprise.  Judging by the redness, I’d say it was a fishing throwback, but it was still valiantly hanging on.  Maybe it’ll heal up and survive after all.  The girls also noticed all the green “stuff” floating on the water’s edge and wondered what that was, so we talked about it.

Butts Park (2)Sweet Pea decided to show me her shoes.  Not sure why she wanted to at that moment, but I thought it gave an awfully cute photo, nonetheless.

Butts Park (3)Boo Bear enjoying her own “give me a smile for the camera” moment.

Butts Park (4)Tater Tot picking more leaves, this time to be tossed into the lake to watch them lazily drift away and to see if any fish will actually eat leaves, something they were curious to know.

Butts Park (6)Another cute non-pose.  Boo Bear was just hanging onto the pole, staring out at the water for a long moment, lost in her own thoughts.

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Butts Park (11)We took pictures of several different mushrooms and identified them in our nature book once we got home.  The girls successfully identified the aptly named puffballs and we are almost, but not entirely, certain that the others are a common, very poisonous brand of mushroom.  (The name escapes me right now.)  These little boogers are everywhere and now make me a bit nervous as Boo Bear likes to pick them and even though she knows to never eat anything she has just randomly picked, the nature book actually cautions about touching them at all, warning you to keep hands away from your face and wash them immediately.  Wow…talk about giving me a bit of stress over something abundantly available and pretty innocuous-seeming.  In any case, it prompted the girls to look at some of the other mushroom species noted in our book, which they found to be interesting.  They would like to see inky caps or witches butter someday.

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Butts Park (13)I pointed out this tree to the girls and had them take a look at it to tell me what they thought was different about it.  Tater Tot quickly noticed how the bark was missing in one area and separated, but still attached, in another.  We hypothesized what might have caused that to occur, ruling out a lightning strike, because there seemed to be no singeing or scarring.  Tater Tots thought it may have been an animal.

Butts Park (14)The girls picked up this leaf off the ground and Tater Tot proceeded to explain to Boo Bear that the holes in it were most likely from a caterpillar.

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Butts Park (16)Sweet pea got a kick out of this moth we spied and the pretty hidden orange under it’s top wings.

Butts Park (17)Unfortunately, the entire time at the park wasn’t completely enjoyable.  At one point, I basically asked Tater Tot to switch swings with Boo Bear so that the two youngest were closer together in order to make it easier for me to swing them.  She didn’t readily do so and so I told her I would remember that sometime when she needed a favor from me.  This sent her into one of her occasional full-blown meltdowns where she fixates on something she cannot change (because what’s done is done).  So we had a long discussion about how the only way to rectify something that has already occurred is to take note of how the situation could be improved the next time around and to improve the behavior from then on.  Rather than accepting that she didn’t make the best decision and moving on, she spent the better part of 20 minutes crying and pouting for essentially a do over and not even for my benefit, but to prevent my turning the tables on her at some random point in the future.  Before it was all said and done, we also discussed new vocabulary terms:  exasperated and pessimistic.  One was Mommy and one was Tater Tot.  I’m sure you can figure out which was which.  In any case, while I was talking to her about her behavior and the way to improve it, Sweet Pea must have taken the above shot of her with the camera.

Butts Park (18)The geese were walking around on the banks so the girls all tried, rather unsuccessfully, to sneak up on them and get a good picture.  Not surprisingly, those geese high-tailed it to the water seeing three bouncy little balls of energy coming their way!

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Butts Park (22)More exploration at the water’s edge.  The girls found a dead fish sans head, spied some dragonflies, and generally teetered along the rocks in a zig-zag across the bank.

Before heading home, I noticed a little honeybee on my shirt, which I tried to get a picture of, but apparently didn’t have the angle right.  I pointed it out to the girls because it was covered in pollen, which they all thought was interesting to see up close.  I had on a blue top with tiny, yellow and white flower-looking things that the bee kept sort of rooting around on, apparently oblivious to the body beneath.  The girls decided that it must have thought they were real flowers.  Whatever it was doing, it seemed perfectly content until I finally shooed it away.

All in all, we had another nice day at the park, enjoying the outdoors, the beautiful day, the nice breeze and all that nature has to offer.  And, bonus, I got a smidgeon of exercise in, with only minimal wear and tear.  😉

 

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