Friday, July 5, 2013

How many spots do you have?

A few years ago I did some research about ladybugs when the children of Cohort 1 were interested in them.  I found a large drawing, labeled the body parts, we observed their movements and learned about their life cycle.  Our whole experience of learning about lady bugs brought a connection to our natural environment which they expanded upon for the rest of their time at Tumbleweed. The one thing that has always stuck with me, is that there are thousands of speices of lady bugs and they are mostly identified by what they look like: number of spots, color and shape.  There is such a wide variety of lady bugs, yet they all act the same and live the same lives.   
I was reminded of that in quiet moment outside.  I had been drawn to a tall weed, covered in aphids.  I noticed it a few days earlier, and today a large 7 spot lady bug was there, feasting away.  I sat there for a while, looking around the plants, and noticed another one.  Unlike the first ladybug, this one was moving around quickly and had considerably more spots and was a medium orange.  I sat longer, and saw another lady bug, this one small and dark red with no spots. The longer I sat, the more lady bugs I saw, they were all different.  Each had their own part of the plant, each had their own way of moving and were doing their own thing.
I realized then I had been so wrapped up in my lady bug exploration that the two boys outside with me had also found their own things that interested and called to them.  Z was carefully collecting fallen maple seeds in a  bowl and dumping them.  E had been working on removing the red bike so that he could push it around but got distracted by a pinwheel nearby.  We each had a sense of satisfaction in the work and play we were doing.  It was not unlike the ladybugs, each sharing their environment and being self motivated to do what they want, to the best of their ability in their own way.
Once I broke out of the moment, the children seemed to feel it as well, and crawled to me with the hugest smiles.  These are the moments we treasure.  I also felt reconnected to the work I do with the children: being aware of the moment, how we each fit perfectly into our world.

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