The importance of the great outdoors
Once my school-age children are out the door, backpacks, snacks and after-school essentials in tow, my 21-month toddler Samuel and I begin our morning stand-off. While I move systematically through the house, clearing breakfast dishes, straightening bed covers and sweeping up crusty bits of tortilla from the previous night’s fajita dinner, Samuel stands plaintively at the full-length window looking outside. He points to his outdoor playhouse and says, “House, out.” When I don’t respond, he takes my hand and pulls, saying, “Come.” He pats my hand reassuringly and leads me in the direction of the front door where his shoes and jacket are waiting. Usually I manage to stave him off, at least until I can get the kitchen straight and a load of laundry going. Sometimes he becomes distracted by his train tracks or energetically “helps” with the housework, but my reprieve is always temporary. Eventually, he wins. Out we go.