The End of the Line

At some point every young child has to learn that their parents are the absolute authority. A contest of wills, so to speak. I believe that it sets the tone for the majority of their relationship. In my household, that contest usually happens when the child is between one and three years. With some children it seems to last an entire year. When the child grows to that point (known to some as the terrible twos) Wife and I must be firm, but even I was unaware of just how firm we could be.Leashed

#6 is just conceding to our authority, while #7 has just started to resist. And so, he foundEnd of the line himself in the middle of a forest tied to a tree. Now it sounds worse that it was. If you have read my last post, then you know we had just been camping. It just so happens that was the time #7 chose to be… uppity.

I have heard someone say that a one year old shouldn’t be expected to respect boundaries. Well, I say that if there is a newborn in the picture and a slue of siblings that

To

To

need tending, then he’s going to respect boundaries real quick. And those boundaries include, keeping within sight of his parents (meaning keeping out of the road or out of the forest), and keeping out of the fire (meaning keeping all limbs out of the campfire no matter what.) And that combination led to the leashing of #7 to a tree.

He screamed at his mother. He screamed at me. He screamed at

And Fro

And Fro

the leash and the tree. He stretched the tether as far as it went and screamed. He swung to and fro like a pendulum and screamed. He wrapped the leash around the tree and attempted to pull it over, and when that did not work he screamed. When the other children came over to play around the tree with him, he

ran to the end of his line and

And the tree did not move.

And the tree did not move.

screamed.

No matter how hard anyone tried to distract or comfort the little boy, he would not be soothed. “Liberty before security” apparently is his motto. While I might encourage that attitude later in his life, right now father and mother know best. He’ll see it my way eventually.End of the line

 

*No children were harmed in the writing of this post. #7 was released upon the return to his natural habitat.*

A Camping We Will Go

Ten sleeping bags, two tents, and one state park add up to camping (or more precisely the poor man’s vacation.) And that was where you could find me and mine, out in the cold of early October.

Out in the woods.

Out in the woods.

The children set to camping with a will. The older ones filled canteens and ran them back and forth from the camp site to the water spout. The younger ones followed and somehow got more wet. When their grandfather started the fire, they encircled him. The older ones offered advice and trash to start it. The younger ones took the trash as well as the firewood and attempted to run with both into the redwoods. #7 was so persistent in his endeavors to join the local wildlife that he found his liberties tethered.

At the end of your rope?

At the end of your rope?

The campfire meals were great entertainment for the little ones. They made it a contest between each other to see who could help the most. You might have heard #3 say to her sister, “I held a potato for Gwampa.” And #4 would reply, “Ya well, ya well, I hold the spoon.” And it would go on.

With that spirit, as I was cracking eggs for breakfast, I found eight little hands all offering an egg from the flat that was sitting in front of me. Considering that their hands were covered with dirt and ash, we had stunted their helpful efforts. But, as that would only dirty up the egg shell, I allowed the help. But after they dropped two eggs, I sent the whole bunch away and finished myself.

When two hands just aren't enough.

When two hands just aren’t enough.

While the nights were cold, it was comfortable within a sleeping bag. However, I was denied the privilege of waiting out the night within mine. As we had outgrown a single tent, Wife, the youngest three, and I were in one tent, while the rest were in the other. The first couple of nights I went between the two tents tucking children back into sleeping bags that they had squirmed out of into the cold. Once they were all settled in and asleep again, we were then raided by raccoons.

And that was the end of our hotdogs.

And that was the end of our hotdogs.