Enjoying nature


It can be difficult to get everyone out into the fresh air. Bribery is often involved. Nevertheless, daughter two professes to be keen on nature and says that, ideally, she would like to live in a meadow. When asked what she wanted to do in the holidays she specified going to a meadow and spending time in a forest. So since the sun was shining for once last weekend we decided to go to a forest. Daughter three point blank refused and pleaded home study. Only son said he hated nature and was worried about wasps. Daughter one was revising and looking up how to do her hair like Scary Spice for her last day of term when she has to dress up as an icon.

After what seemed like several hours, we hit the road. We got to the part of the forest where there is a small museum dedicated to creatures of the forest. Only son refused to go in until bribed. He then sat down and drew a nature picture. “This is a picture of a dead wasp, mum,” he began. The picture showed a wasp surrounded by blood. Hmm. I decided it might be best not to submit it to the best pictures box at the museum. We headed off down a nature trail. Only son grabbed a stick and started running towards some birds a little bit overenthusiastically. Daughter two started complaining about being taken away from her French homework, which she had left until the eleventh hour. Daughter three was thinking about school and had gone into silent mode.

We went to get an ice cream. Daughter two announced that she hadn’t had anything to eat due to being “rushed” out of the house. Being vegan, she could not eat ice cream. She sat down on a bench in protest. Only son decided to forfeit an ice cream in case it attracted wasps and chose chips instead. Daughter three was eventually cajoled to try a few chips. We appeared to have seated ourselves in the middle of a wedding. I started reading facts about slugs and insects, including wasps, to only son. He showed a mild interest, but was not shaken in his resolve to spend all summer avoiding wasps. Everyone cheered up a bit. Daughter two had some chips.

Only son came out of school on Monday with a Mickey Mouse pencil. “xx went to Disneyland for Easter,” he said, “and xx took one of the ‘boy-coloured’ pencils so I had to have the girl red one.” I informed only son that red was not in fact a ‘girl’ colour. It was the colour of blood and everyone has blood, even wasps, apparently. Plus we had been to the local swimming pool several times and a forest. Disneyland had nothing on us. Only son seemed remarkably happy with this statement. Swimming is his main passion at the moment and he is not one for long-distance travel. He has once more requested that this year’s summer holiday be spent in the hotel next to the supermarket about 10 minutes from our house.

Meanwhile, daughter three has joined me in my work from home office. She is doing home study until we sort out the whole bullying thing and she seems much happier for it, having been extremely anxious at the start of the week. She has written a powerful short story about her feelings and is currently analysing Breakfast at Tiffany’s for “drama”. Only son is looking forward to teaching her PE later…

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.

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