Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tarzans of the Woods

We have been experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures here in New England. This has truly been a blessing as it has given the boys the outdoor time they physically need. I remember a few years back I used to meet a friend at a park every Tuesday, even in January, because boys just need to get out-- whatever the weather. One Tuesday I wasn't up for it. I was several months pregnant with Nicholas and just couldn't stand the thought of all those coats, those mittens, those hats, scarves, and boots. I wasn't up for the searching and bending involved in getting four little boys ready to play in near-zero temperatures. As I was explaining this to my friend on the phone Simeon was listening, "We're not going?" he asked confused, "Soooo, can we act wild?" And when boys have been kept indoors for too many days in a row, that's pretty much the choice. Since Simeon spelled it out so clearly for me...we went.

So far this year, we haven't had that problem. The boys have been spending most of their afternoons in the woods behind our house. They have all sorts of projects going on back there. There is the "Great Path" construction project that has been going on for some time now where they are clearing paths to and from each place in the woods where they like to play. I got a look at it today and I am very impressed with the progress they have made.

Something else I got a look at was "The Vine" I had been hearing all about. They told me there was a vine in the woods that went "way, way, high up" and that they were swinging from it off a rock located nearby...what I hadn't realized was just how "way, way high up" that vine went and the force with which they were swinging.

Yikes! The risk-intolerant part of me nearly flipped when I saw it. But when I showed my concern, the boys were quick to reassure me. There was no need to worry, they said. And to prove just how cautious they were and how they had everything under complete control, they explained that when Jacob crashed into a tree a few days back they passed new safety regulations stating that swinging from the vine was now an activity for "ages five and up" (language they learned from perusing toy catalogs). Jacob, of course, falls just under this limit and Alex is just above. Jacob accepted the new regulation as law (the boys take the age limits in the toy catalogs VERY seriously). Problem solved.

Now the question is, to further limit liability, should I change the regulations to: Swinging from "The Vine" is now an activity for ages twenty-five and up?


forget me not said...

Well, I'd say that would be wise, from the pictures it seems like something even Tarzan would have second thoughts about!

Michelle said...

My kids are very serious about the age warnings too.

Do you ever think that sometimes it's just not good to know what they're up to out there?

Johane said...

YES! YES! YES! Change that age limit to 50 and up! When I was a kid, back so many years ago, I also had a small patch of woods in my back yard. The kids in the neighbourhood loved playing there. Somebody - I don't know who, we never found out - had put up a rope so that we could swing from it. At least it had been there as long as I could remember... Anyhow, a 10 year old boy was fooling around in the woods, by himself, and hung himself (from what I understood at the time, it was accidental). He was reported missing and found 24 hours later...

I know, the vine is probably stiffer than the big rope we had to play with, but still... We didn't think it was dangerous until someone actually died! Crashing into a tree is only one of the problems...

I'll now go in the corner and take a deep breath and try to control the rush of adrenaline!

Cheryl said...

I say keep the vine, but only with parental supervision very close by.
It does look like lots of fun for little boys! ;)

Goslyn said...

While the vine looks like lots of fun, I'd be more concerned about what KIND of vine it is ... The only thing I've ever seen that grows like that in the Northeast is poision oak. Which could get very itchy come the spring, if it's still around.

The things boys get into ... wow.

Kristen Laurence said...

That is just so much fun. I love it!

Alexa said...

I was just purging my blogroll and realized I hadn't been here much, so I checked out a few more of your posts than I had in the past, and I must say, well written and refreshing! Needless to say, you're a keeper on my blogroll. My cousins and aunt and uncle, by the way, live in Southington, Connecticut.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Ya know, why not just keep it hanging around? Boys will be boys and get into something! Although, a previous comment does make me squirm about the hanging incident. Pray upon it and what does your hubby think???
If you opt to not use it, think of other ways to still have them play with it...maybe tie things on to the bottom of it and swing it around? I am sure their creativeness will kick into gear!
God bless-

helene said...

Okay, here's me putting on my most bossiest older sister voice....Cut that vine down! If you leave that thing up you are a NUTBAR.

But I'll babysit if you need to go to ER.

Alice said...

Oh Suzanne, this is a dream for them! What memories, what fun! I am the most nervous woman in the world when it comes to the safety of my kids, but I think I would probably risk it for that vine!!! What an incredible discovery the boys have made.

Love the 5 and up rule too!

Margaret in Minnesota said...

Hmmm. It's a fine line that we homeschooling mothers walk sometimes in our desire to blend Real Learning and healthy outdoor play with...well, with safety and non-life-threatening situations.

And I have been given the "What were you THINKING?" look many a time by my husband.

(Remind me to blog about the time my 2-year-old got sucked into the escalator because I let her try riding it herself.)

Here's my thought,which at this point is probably not trustworthy to anyone but myself: check the sturdiness of the vine. Swing on it yourself. And then, let the boys have at it.


The Mother of Boys

Jane Ramsey said...

Another mother of boys here with another two cents to throw in:
Say a prayer to their guardian angels, and let them have fun.
Boys will find a way to put themselves in danger nearly every day and you just can't worry about everything they get into. My THREE year old was SO high up in a tree the other day I nearly lost my breath, but I just said a prayer and very calmly told him to climb down! Mothering boys is definitely not for the squeamish!