Hubby is a tax accountant, so this time of year is particularly hectic for our family. The month of April always seems to come and go in a blur. He’ll be putting in some crazy hours at the office for the next six weeks. (Don’t feel too bad for the guy! Soon after his big deadline, he’ll be heading on his annual surf trip with his buddies to a very warm and exotic location!)
Although it is a busy time of year, we try to make the most of family time when the four of us are together. With all the sunshine we've been having, the boys and I started a little “project” in the backyard. The entire family collaborated efforts this weekend to put the finishing touches on what we refer to as “The Home of the Early People”.
It all began with a trip to the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History a month or so ago to view the featured exhibit – Ice Age Mammals. Chi-Chi was awestruck by the huge skeletal replica of a mastodon. Ever since our museum visit, he has displayed a hunger and enthusiasm to learn absolutely everything about the amazing creatures that roamed our planet so long ago. His genuine interest and curiosity are actually quite inspiring. Would you believe he recently dropped the Gruffalo birthday cake request in exchange for a mastodon variety? (I’m doing some last minute scrambling trying to figure out how I’m going to fill this tall order)
On a recent trip to the thrift shop, I stumbled on a copy of Who Were The First People from Usborne. It was perfect timing for this great find. Not surprisingly, Chi-Chi latched onto it immediately and our learning path is now taking us into the lives of the first hunter/gatherer humans who roamed the earth. He and Muffy have been re-enacting the lives of their early ancestors, setting up tent homes in the living room and gathering play food to feed the family!
We decided to take advantage of the spring sunshine and took our role playing activities outside. Before we knew it, we were huddling under the branches of a backyard spruce tree as we sought refuge from a ferocious saber tooth cat. With a little elbow grease, our cozy hideaway was soon transformed into a lovely primitive home. We cleaned and raked the spruce needle floor and cleared a few low branches to allow for headroom. Protective walls were constructed using sticks and fieldstones. I will admit, Mr. Neanderthal certainly would not have had a picnic table in his dining room! It’s a great little place to hide out, daydream and enjoy an afternoon snack al fresco. Once the leaves come out on the alder bushes, it will be quite a cozy little spot. I imagine it will serve as a special place for the little ones in the years to come- a place to live out their daydream adventures, a place to spend a quiet moment alone in nature…
I am starting to think, however, that Chi-Chi might be taking things a little too far. Before I could object, I discovered the “three boys” of the family sitting in the camp, fashioning “spears for the early people”. Yikes!! I’m not sure it is a good idea to offer spears to two and four year olds! Once again, I can only explain this strange behaviour as male bonding. I saw a pheasant meandering his way into the camp this evening while I was washing the dishes. I’m guessing Mommy will be confiscating those spears very shortly (in the interest of the safety of my children AND our wildlife friends!!!!)