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Science Kids on the Loose

Science Kids on the Loose

An Evening Stroll

Generally, Gerry and I are pretty strict about bedtime. Ever since the boys were babies, we bowed to the power of the bedtime routine, including a consistent lights out time. Even though the rest of our day is usually a study in ordered chaos, bedtime is different. It a time of harmony, cleanliness, literature, cuddling, and whispers. That’s the ideal, anyway.
But, as all of us who parent know, even the most honored routines can be tweaked and sometimes disregarded. Summer is a good example of that. Our evening routines stayed the same, but the time was a little bit later. Weekends are often a toss up, if we are out having lots of fun. I believe that the structure has made my boys flexible, if that makes any sense.
I have wanted to take the boys out for a nighttime walk for quite a while. I wanted them to don their headlamps, and head out into a dark night with their parents as nature neighborhood guides. I think it would be fun to see their everyday world through the gleam of a flashlight. Unfortunately, I haven’t found just the right night, where the stars align on a weekend evening to make this night walk possible. But I will do it. Eventually.
However, I did find us stretching the boundaries of bedtime one evening this week. We were playing with the kids on our street after dinner, and I lost track of time. Gerry arrived home late from work and wanted to play with the boys for a while. The daylight started to fade as they played. I called Henry aside and asked if he wanted to stroll up the street and get the mail (there is a box at the end of the cul de sac).
We walked hand in hand up the sidewalk. I asked about his day and he was surprisingly chatty. At the mailbox he admired the pink clouds and said “Mom, I love twilight.” I had to smile, because is my favorite time of the day too.
Every evening at the same time, every day, a huge flock of black birds flies over our neighborhood. There are so many that the event goes on for a few minutes. During our walk this evening the birds appeared. We wondered where they were going, where they had been all day, how they all knew to meet up at the same time. I remarked that those birds have a perfect nighttime routine, like us.
Like magic, all the streetlights flickered on at the same time. As a girl, I used to watch for that moment every night from my bedroom window. I thought it was wonderful when I was able to catch it. Henry also felt the magic as he exclaimed, “Wow Mommy! Those light make our shadows really really long!” And indeed they did. Our shadows looked like long stick figures on the sidewalk.
Our evening stroll didn’t last more than ten minutes, but it was perfect. A small window of time with my boy at the end of a busy day. He probably won’t remember our walk, but I know that I will. I will remember his five-year-old hand in mine and how we felt wonder at the sight of birds and shadows. I think I may have to build an occasional stroll into our nighttime routine. It was totally worth it.

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
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