Lost in the woods and other social adventures.

Yesterday, Max and the Get-Along-Gang (who doesn’t always get along) got lost in the woods behind our house. Thankfully, Ellie was carrying the cell phone which Tiffany wisely placed in his pocket just in case this case occurred. Luke, Micah, and Max led me to their location on a side street in a different neighborhood by describing their surroundings.

When the Coryell spaceship cruised up the corner, I was greeted by much hooraying, jumping, and tears. Max used Ellie’s camera to photograph “the rescue”, as he called it, but I don’t know how those photos turned out. There were a number of hurt feelings and disappointments- Luke was annoyed with Max for “getting them lost”, Micah Naomi was scared and concerned, Ellie was frustrated that their expedition had not gone according to hopes, and Max was hurt because mean words were exchanged and he “couldn’t control” what was happening.

Fortunately, the conflicts eventually untangled themselves and I couldn’t help feeling a sort of elation at watching them deal with difficulties and misunderstandings- the stuff of human relations. I’m doing my best not to protect Max and Micah from hurt feelings this year. Instead, we’re exploring and learning different ways to express and resolve these feelings and doing our best to honor others in the process. I hope emphasizing conflict and frustration as a source of insight (rather than a battle which someone “wins”) makes something close to sense for little people, especially since we adults aren’t always the best models.

No one “wins” a fight. Another way to think about it is that everyone wins when it is resolved. So “enemies” are really partners in resolving a problem whose resolution would bring them relief and happiness.

Determined and steadfast Ellie was the last man standing on the scene- and the only person who still wanted to make his way back through the woods rather than hitch a ride in the rescue spaceship.

While the older crew got lost, a few members of the younger crew played happily with the bee and flower set.

I thought it was so cool to observe how they sorted various colors onto stalks rather than creating the diverse colorscape on the front of the block box.

Milla tried to destroy their flower meadow on a regular basis, but Jenna and Micah handled it pretty well- with sighs, folded hands, and the occasional scream.

When diversity is the model, sorting is a way to do your own thing.

After Ellie and Tiffany left for a tasty lunch at home, Luke and Max played around with the string art owl while Micah Naomi entertained the younger crop and we the mothers threw together a lunch which did not exceed the quality of a school cafeteria.

We missed so many great photos, an inevitable part of life when eleven kids from ages 6 months to 8 years are independently playing, romping, and exploring under the “supervision” of four moms, three of which are still nursing. Next time, I’m going to beg Tiffany to bring her camera.

I’m also going to keep a tighter reign on the area in which the kids are allowed to play so we don’t receive any more visits from concerned neighbors who think chickens deserve a better range than little people.