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Children Of Two Worlds

Yesterday was a school holiday and with
both girls at home, I needed a game plan. Looking for something
that would get us moving and be cheap, I told the girls we were
heading to the park for the morning.

Sure, it was a bit windy and overcast part of the time. But once
there we quickly got in the swing of things and had a fantastic
time for almost two hours. The first part of our time there was
spent on the playground equipment, but the lion’s share of
our outdoor time was taken up with my girls’ favorite
activity – Doing Stuff With Nature.

Eschewing the playground equipment pretty
early on, Maddie crossed onto the grassy field and began gathering
sticks for our new home. She explained that the family was quite
poor and we needed to build our home from whatever we found lying
around. As Maddie piled up a campfire in our “hearth”
Cora obligingly searched diligently for copious amounts of purple
clover flowers – the “parting gifts” for the home
as well as the house décor. My mom and I were tasked with
gathering up all the loose grass and bringing it over to form a
walkway, and to place around each “candle” –
small twigs Maddie stood up in a circle around our home.

Yep, this might sound boring to some of you, but this was heaven
for my family. We scrounged, we built something out of nothing, we
had a fantastic time. By the time lunch rolled around we were
famished and proud of a job well done.

And then we went to Chuck E. Cheese.

Yeah, Cora had been begging for months to go to CEC and I’d
been trying to put it off until spring break. But she asked again
on Sunday and as she cleverly pointed out, it is still a
“yes” week in our family. So off to the mouse house we

Once there, all signs of my outdoorsy, nature-loving,
do-it-yourself girls disappeared, to be replaced with
consumer-driven, glassy-eyed, game-ticket-seeking maniacs. We ate
what they generously call pizza and frolicked all over the gaming
area; Maddie has turned out to be quite a whiz at Skee Ball and
Cora had to be pried away from the multi-sensory rides you lie on
and “experience”. As we were leaving, there was the
expected drooling over the cheap crap you get if you turn over
enough tickets; surprisingly, my girls decided to save the tickets
they’d won that day and try to accumulate more to get
something “really good”. I was at first proud of them,
then disturbed that they were already planning a return trip to a
place I fondly refer to as the Mouse House and its Germ Garden.

Once home, the girls watched their usual half-hour video, content
to veg in front of the television. And then they headed into the
back yard, where they spent the rest. Of. The. Day.

My kids are funny monkeys; fiercely in love with the outdoors, yet
all too willing to succumb to the lure of “modern”
entertainment. I suppose I should be grateful they span both worlds
so easily.

Though would it hurt them to feel a little awkward in the Mouse
House world?


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