Monday, January 16, 2006

Scouting Over the Weekend

I have so much to catch up on today that I don't know where to begin. I feel like crap, though, so it may take me a while to get everything posted. For now, though, I'll start with the fun from the weekend.

The kids were with their father this weekend, but only until noon on Saturday because Ex had tickets for the Bear's game. That turned out to be in our favor, because then SmallBoy was able to go to his Cub Scout outing that afternoon (Ex wouldn't have taken him). Their outing took the to a forest preserve grove where they hiked and learned how to clean up after themselves and others. Mr. G. took them to a site that obviously had been visited by a few parties over the weekend. The boys each had a trash bag and were instructed to pick up the garbage (except for the glass, we grown ups did that). The kids were shocked to find beer cans, food wrappers and even articles of clothing. They simply couldn't understand why people couldn't throw out their garbage. Their incredible intellect also helped them to deduce that the "culprits" of this mess were likely to be teenagers because, "teenagers drink beer sometimes and hide it." Ahhhh, wise beyond their years. Let's hope that they learned how NOT cool that was. Yeah, I know, but I NEVER did that. Stop laughing, I didn't.

Once the boys finished the clean up, Mr. G. told them about how to leave food for the deer and other animals. He had them cut up an apple or a pear, or helped them if they didn't have a knife (using his machete - boys thought that was really cool). Then he showed them how to bury it or smush it into the ground or between the bark on the trees. The boys were just loving this. First, the machete was just "da bomb" in their eyes and, second, they got to leave food on the ground and maybe get to see some deer! COOL! Mr. G. told the boys that we had to finish this clean up/hike, go back to our "base" to build a "litter" (which confused the heck out of the kids until he explained it), and then perhaps, if we were lucky, we could hike back in and maybe see some deer feasting on the snacks we left behind. PC had gone to pick up ET and Princess from the train station when we started the hike, so he missed this fun part, but, as we emerged from the woods into our "base", the three of them were there and SmallBoy came tearing out of the woods when he saw Princess and screamed her name and gave her a big hug! He was so excite to see her, and she, him.

Back at the base, Mr. G. asked the scouts if they knew what a "litter" was. The answers ranged from a bottle of pop (which he corrected as a "liter"), to litter that they had just cleaned up after the "beer drinking teenagers", to poop from the cats, to a bunch of cats or puppies born at the same time. Bright group of boys, huh? Following the barrage, he explained to them that a "litter" is a stretcher and told them that the reason they would need one is if they were hiking and someone in their party got injured and it was too far for them to hobble or that the person was injured too badly to hobble even a little. He had brought with him some limbs, so that they wouldn't be taking from the forest preserve. He showed the boys how to fasten them together with string, duct tape, etc...and whatever material they had on them...sweatshirt, poncho, towel. He demonstrated to them, before assembly, the diffence between a litter and a chariot, pulling it behind rickshaw style.

The troop divided into two groups and, together with the help of the parents, ET & PC, managed to get their litters built. It came time to do a weight test to make sure that each letter would safely carry its precious cargo without causing further damage. We thought we'd start small and work our way up in weight. We started with Princess since she was clearly the tiniest and lightest of us all. Unfortunately my camera decided to be stupid at that juncture, so I do not have one of the cutest pictures...all of these boys carrying Princess around like Cleopatra. Oh God, she LOVED it! After it was determined that it would hold her weight, each scout got a turn until we made it to grown up weight. Thankfully, Mr. D volunteered to be the tester. It held him nice and strong, so we knew it was safe. He thought we should have a mom volunteer also. I said NO WAY. Once our litters were made, tested and used (played with), the boys used them to load up the trash bags and carry them to the garbage cans instead of making several trips. It was nice that they got to see that these things had practical uses...made it a bit easier to comprehend for them, I think.

Mission accomplished, the boys (and girl) lined back up to head off into the woods in search of the deer for whom we had left the snacks behind earlier. The kids were excited so much at the prospect of seeing the deer that they could hardly contain themselves. Mr. G. told them the rules: Single file, QUIETLY, no running, no talking and to watch him for hand signals. Oh good! Rules! Smallboy was in heaven! Thankfully, all of the boys (and girl) thought that these were some pretty important rules and the never made a peep or strayed from the line. ET, being extremely experienced at the outdoors (he has done many many an Outward Bound Program and has taught his knowledge to his daughter), took Princess around a back way so that they could get closer to the deer. It would be tough for a group the size of the boys to get really close, and he wanted her to have an opportunity to see them up close and personal. We took our walk back around to our original spot, where we had "planted" the food. On first inspection, we didn't see any deer. We walked around to another spot to look and there they were. It was incredible. No camera with batteries, although, I don't think I would have taken the picture anyway, the noise would have scared them off. Mr. G. took the boys as close as he could safely get them and they were in awe. I think the funniest part of this was that we could see Princess and ET hiding in the bushes - but only because of her very pink coat. She was hard to miss. THEY saw about 5 or 6 deer from about 10 ft away. VERY cool.

All in all, we had a very productive afternoon. It was really nice to have ET & Princess join us. I have a feeling she's going to want to abandon brownies and join cub scouts! Which reminds me - Girl is selling Girl Scout cookies! If any one would like to buy some, grab my email off of my profile and let me know what you'd like. They ship well and freeze well. I've been bad and haven't gotten an email out to my family yet, so you've got DIBS!!!!

I've got MUCH more to post about, including my lovely EX, once again, having issues with "AWGsBURGERs" ( I finally corrected him this time) and with SmallBoy (he doesn't "buy" that the behaviors are AS related and thinks he's just being a horrible kid)...tune in later, I've got more. PLUS, the parking ticket saga still lingers...THAT's another post all to itself. Tune in next time for the next installment of: Ex, AS, & Parking!


Laura said...

Ah - the unbelievers of autism. Aren't they fun? And I think S. has the same pink coat as Princess. I have a Girl Scout related post over at my blog as well. If you need MN GS cookies, let me know! ;)

SquareGirl said...

Oh dear, AWG'sBERGERS...I love how society trains us to think. And I will indeed e-mail you about girlscout cookies...squareGirl loves to support amazing Girls!

Felicity said...

As a pseudo-hippie in private HS up north, we beer drinking teens used to camp out a LOT and NEVER, ever left any trash behind. So I believe you.