Today, I took my boys to the park after school, and my two oldest sat on a park bench and played with their Pokemon cards.
Sometimes I wonder if I've shortchanged my boys by choosing to live in the city.
My oldest, the leader of the pack, is seven and lived in apartments for six of those years. I did my best to introduce him to nature, but until we moved to this house with a backyard, he didn't have many opportunities to explore on his own terms.
On the days when I have to coerce him outside, on the days when he spends a beautiful spring afternoon on a park bench playing with Pokemon cards, I wonder, "Did I miss the window?"
My youngest is three and has spent half of his life in this house with a backyard. He's the first out the door every day and the last back in. Today at the playground, he started with the slide, moved on to the digging spot, and then spent the rest of our green hour watching inchworms, climbing rocks, and rolling in the grass.
It's something I think about a lot. Is their reaction to the outdoors just a difference in their personalities? Or is it the result of their differing life experiences? There are definite green advantages to urban living, but does it come at a cost?
And yet even my oldest exclaimed on the walk back from the park, "Look at these beautiful flowers, Mom. These are my favorite. They smell like grape juice."
Perhaps there's hope for us city folk after all.
Unrelated sidenote: On my cherry-picking science post, a few people expressed interest in hearing more about my son's elimination diet, which we started based on a theory that eliminating certain foods can improve behavior problems. I wrote up a whole post about it, but then decided that it wasn't something I was comfortable sharing at the Booth (it felt a little too personal to share with such a broad audience). So for those of you who are interested - the short answer is that it didn't work for us. If you are interested in the longer answer, I'm happy to share it by email (consciousshopperblog [at] gmail [dot] com).