Yesterday, my kids attended the first in a series of homeschooling classes about trees. This one was called, “What Makes a Tree a Tree?”
They discussed the differences between trees and bushes, conifers and deciduous trees (and the tamarack, which is the only deciduous conifer and the name of the cabin I stayed in when I worked at a conference resort one fall right after college).
Then they all went out into the hallway and used their bodies to make a model of the layers of a tree in a kind of interpretive dance. My daughter was the heartwood, and my son was one of the two people who formed the xylem around her and chanted, “Water flows UP!” while reaching from their feet to the sky. The heartwood and the xylem are right next to each other, which means my son started hitting his sister while the other layers were being formed, prompting one of the countless ridiculous parenting threats that I find myself uttering: “You can only be a xylem if you have gentle hands!”
Their favorite project was making a paper bag tree.
You can find instructions for making a similar tree on Pikadilly Charm. Ours were apple trees and included roots, leaves, flowers, and fruit because the instructor wanted the kids to show all of the components of an apple tree at all stages.
My eight-year-old made her tree almost entirely on her own, but my four-year-old got a lot of assistance from me. While I was distracted twisting brown paper into the branches of his apple tree, my mommy-sense told me to look towards my son who was right at my elbow. I glanced over and shouted, “NO! NO, NO, NO, NO!” and grabbed the scissors just as he was about to chop a big chunk of hair from the top of his head. A few stray hairs were cropped nearly to his scalp, but due to his naturally shaggy hair, we avoided an emergency crew-cut trip, and although I was embarrassed at having overreacted so dramatically, the rest of the parents in the group just shrugged it off. And the shock got my blood pumping on a cold afternoon, so it all worked out fine in the end.
In other news, my spouse lost his smartphone. He turned it off Thursday night and it immediately dropped into the vast Bermuda Triangle in our house, where it presumably joined my digital watch and the PVC training flute my son was supposed to use in his early flute lessons. Only two items have been disgorged from this Bermuda Triangle, and we’ve already looked in the spots where we found those, and in every other drawer, closet, freezer, toilet, and clothes dryer in the house. Why we bought a house with a Bermuda Triangle in it, I have no idea. If you’ve got any ideas where we ought to look for the phone, I would welcome all suggestions.
UPDATE! We found the phone! It was in a gap in our office chair, and when I sat down in a huff, I dislodged it and it fell to the floor. (Luckily I knew it was likely to get abuse so I’d bought an impact-resistant cover for it so it was totally fine after the fall.) One time, at least, my irritability paid off.