Tuesday, June 17, 2008

the beauty of darwinism.

so this academic year is ending with two very good lessons recently learned and more importantly cemented into the permanent fabric that is the boybarians' brains.

today i will discuss with you lesson #1. darwinism.

last week we went with our home school group specifically to see the largest redwood tree in the state.


i was not impressed and in fact did not realize i was under the largest redwood tree in the state until i tuned back into the guide after futzing with my camera and asked the duke what tree was this we were under.

"um, the largest redwood tree in the state"

"huh. i've seen bigger"

but i'm from california. we're a bit snobby about our redwoods with right to be.

anyhow, so after that we went on an interesting walk and the guide pointed out other trees and in fact pointed out a bear trail that had been in use for thousands of years! amazing, and it's practically in our own back yard!

so we're going by this salmon hatchery that had an electrified wire around it. and the guide points it out to me and the one or two parents at the front of the group with me. other parents are far behind, there are many kids in between.

"that's an electric wire to protect the salmon hatchery from predators. let the kids know not to touch it"

so i let the kids immediately around me know and as kids straggled up i let them know too.

and what do the two other boys the duke's age do?

yep. they immediately touch it. with sticks.

"um, guys don't touch the wire. it's electric"

they pretty much just give me blank looks and wait for my lips to stop moving and then turn around and try touching it again.

at this point i can't figure out if they're stupid or they are an experiment of their parents gone horribly wrong, but i marched over and got right at their level and said


the duke was amazed these boys his age were so clueless. wingman just stood there then said

"who would do that!?!"


so we move on across a bridge to go look at a bear trap. and as we come up on a long concrete open culvert not in use we notice a doe we had seen earlier. she seemed very upset. very agitated.

as we looked into the culvert we noticed why. her baby was trapped in the culvert. the baby had jumped in, but was too little to jump out.

now, our guide was a wildlife expert. this was a situation he knew how to handle. but, he wasn't alone. with upwards of 40 people with him there wasn't much he could do. so he said

"this mama is very upset. let's walk as far around her as possible to get to the other side and head back to the park. and let's be very quiet. if we spook her she could charge at all of us or she could run the other way and abandon her baby. let's just go as quickly and as quietly around, then i'll come back on my own and help the baby"

that seemed clear enough.

except the littler kids and the girls and THE MOTHERS all rushed forward in a collective "ooohhh poor baby" and started talking about it and moving in closer for a better shot at a picture.

"um, yeah, you know what..."

side note here. for those of you who don't already know this, when i start out saying that very phrase it's just the opening of the gates to bitch city. it's me at the end of my rope. it's me not being able to be diplomatic about it or friendly about it or wanting to deal with it for one fucking second longer.

"um, yeah, you know what? i don't think it's really the best idea to do the exact opposite of what he said to do"

and again i got the blank stares and the waiting until my lips stopped moving and i was largely ignored because apparently mothers don't like being told what not to do any more than their horrible ill behaved children do.

especially homeschool mothers who are all used to doing just as they please and have control issues anyway.

somehow the homeschool herd of genius' managed to get back to the park with little incident.

and turns out the guide did go back and he successfully reunited the mama and baby.

and those boys with the sticks and the electric wire?

not 15 minutes later we all heard a crash and looked over. they had found a bottle and a log and put the bottle on the road and dropped the log onto it. who knows why. because they are boys or bored or curious or just little horrible ill behaved shits who are not used to being given structure or rules or consequences.

because at 11 what do you think is going to happen when you drop a log on a bottle on a road?

here's a hint genius, it's going to break. it's going to break on the road. where all of our cars have to drive on to get out. where all the littler kids are walking across to get to the creek. many with no shoes.

the duke again was incredulous.

"that wasn't very safe"

and again wingman just stared with his mouth open

"who would do that!?!"

and did the mothers of these boys get up and do anything?

yeah, not so much.

another mother read them the riot act and i got the plastic bag and the paper towels and saw that they picked up every last piece and threw them away.

all the while the boys' mothers were busy with their littler kids or saw that the situation was taken care of and went back to socializing or whatever it was that they do instead of parenting their children.

meanwhile probably mentally checking off "science experiment" for the day and calling it good.

look, all kids are curious. my kids are curious. but if someone says don't touch this or x, y, z, will happen my kids know enough about the world to know that x, y, z will happen.

and i can understand wanting to poke and destroy. this largely boy thing. i am the mother of boys. i get it.

but just because you can/want to doesn't mean you should.

and at some point that needs to become crystal clear to every child.

but if you haven't gotten it by 11 that a broken bottle plus road plus no shoes isn't a good idea, say EVER, then when do you get it?

i love darwinism in the same way that i love karma. they are the immutable laws of the universe.

you cannot run. you cannot hide.

you can just piss others off while they patiently wait for it all to catch up with you.

and it will.

it always does.

and therein lies the beauty.


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