Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Fort

OK. First things first. When I went to log in here to put up this post I blanked on the name of the site where I write it. Dooger and Booger went through my head before I finally pulled Blogger out of the mist.

I think that this means either a) it's been too long since my last post and/or b) I am losing brain cells at an alarming rate.

But my encroaching senility aside (because I am told that sometimes it isn't ALL about me), what I really wanted to share with you is the result of about 10 hours of outdoor, independent play.

My kids, without me, outside, playing with other children, building stuff.

Not entirely without me, of course, I hovered around. I eavesdropped from my yard on the pretense of digging out bushes (which was, by the way, a lot of physical labor to have an excuse to be around without explicitly being around).

It all started sometime Friday afternoon. Progressed to Saturday afternoon. And culminated in 6 hours (!) on Sunday.

Varying numbers of kids, somewhere around 6-10 at any given time, working together to haul sticks (and some small trees) out of the woods behind our house across the street into the woods in front. Many trips to the cul-de-sac to move rocks. Rakes and shovels were involved.
The Dangerous Book for Boys and the Double-Daring Book for Girls were referenced. There were very few disputes. Very few places where I had to say a word.

From time to time they would all start riding scooters and bikes around the cul-de-sac, singing "Hot Hot Hot" at the top of their lungs.

It was creepy, I tell you. All that cooperation and fresh air. All that friendship and laughter. All that age-appropriate independence. Gives me the willies.

It all came to, almost literally, a screeching halt around 6PM on Sunday, when all of a sudden, as if some internal alarm clock had gone off, the children lost all coordination and started collapsing from sheer exhaustion.

Of course, this collapsing happened to my kids while they were riding scooters. So first we scooped Tater up and bandaged his elbow and wrist, and then moments later scooped up Sprout and iced her leg and elbow.

I said, "Wow, it was like you lost all coordination at about 6 hours".

And Sprout said, "I did not, I just started falling down."

Tomato, To-mah-to.

Late on Sunday night we realized that some of our gardening tools, specifically several rakes, had been left out in "the fort". So on Monday morning, after getting the kids off to school I went to retrieve them and this is what I found.

This was the first time that I really approached what they had been doing and saw that there was actual structure to it. I had seen the "teepee" in the back, one of the neighbor dad's had helped them get that worked out. But the rest was new to me.

This huge stick (like probably over 10 feet long, although I realize the picture gives no perspective) was carried out of the woods by two 7-year-olds. When I asked the kids later what this was (I showed them the pictures and we talked about all of their hard work), they said this was for skiing. I have no idea.

This here was apparently the "house". The carefully arranged sticks and rocks just blow my mind. They put a lot of effort into getting this just so.

If you told me to make three logs stand up by bracing them with a bunch of rocks, I don't think I could do it.

This is a little further up the hill. The teepee is in the back, I am not sure what the big circle of leaves was called.

I am not clear on how masking tape came to be mixed into the leaves. Apparently there was some early attempt to tape leaves onto the trees. I know it is technically litter.

These are the "extra" sticks that they hauled up out of the woods.

This is the "fire". Of course we had a big discussion about not even thinking about trying to build a real fire.

I have no idea what this is. I think another fire.

This is apparently the "bathroom". Again, strong discussion about not actually using the bathroom. Tater is horrified by the mere concept of using the outdoors in such a manner. I don't know about Sprout. She assures me no one has used it. Whew.

The "shower". See the drain?

This is the view back down the hill. That's our house. So I was just a little pinpoint in the distance over there (a sweaty, cursing pinpoint, prying huge bushes out of the ground and peeking over from time to time).

They were back out making tweaks and moving things around on Monday. And Tuesday. And then it started to get cold and windy. And now the rain is coming down.

I am not sure what will be left of the fort (inhabited by "The Wind Clan" I am told) when the storms end next week. But I am so glad that they had this week of building something they could be proud of. And, schmaltzy as it sounds, some great memories!

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