Monday, August 30, 2010

Exploring with Kids

It’s late on a hot summer night. I want my 3-year-old to lie down and sleep.
He won’t — he’s busy nesting. Perched atop his scrunched-up blue blankie, he informs me “I can’t lie down, my eggs will get cold.” I suggest he keep them warm by lying on top of them. “They’ll break!” he wails.
I’m guessing he was a sea turtle that night, because a recent trip to a turtle rescue center had made a big impression on him. But he could just as easily have been a flamingo or an alligator. Could there be anything cuter than Mateo pretending he’s an animal? Well, yes

Read the rest of my story from the September, 2010 issue of Arroyo Monthly Magazine.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Recent Adventures

Would that every Southern California summer were this cool (current hot spell aside). My son and I have taken advantage of the weather to get out and about.

Our biggest recent adventure was a trek up the stream bed at Eaton Canyon. We were hoping to see frogs because there were so many tadpoles here in early summer.

Once we made it to the water, there was no stopping my three-year-old. Wearing his aquasocks (amphibious shoes), he trekked upstream, all the way to the bridge.

We didn't see any frogs, but were surprised by what appeared to be a couple of aquatic snakes, and oodles of dragon- and damselflies. We also scooped up aquatic bugs for a closer look with a magnifying glass.

My son was less keen on the terrestrial trek back to the car. But little doggies and girls commenting on his Kermit shirt kept him moving.

Once again, it was really hard to tear him away from the animal puppets at the nature center.

In late July we also enjoyed a visit to the Audubon Center at Debs Park. We spread a blanket next to a pond, and had a simple picnic. My son dug in the sand and climbed rocks; I enjoyed the birds and insects. Together we pretended to be bears in the little cave. Baby bear gave mom bear a time-out.

"Some people say personification of animals is a bad thing," says the Audubon Center's director Jeff Chapman, "but at a young age that kind of feeling and connecting with wildlife is a really good thing in my opinion. It’s a natural empathizing thing that young children have with animals."

Chapman encourages kids to share their discoveries on a board at the Center and on the nature website eBird (a joint project of Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology). "Audubon prides ourself on taking science and bringing it to regular people," he explains. "And allowing them to have a personal stake in feeding the world with information."

Find out about the other side of Debs Park.