When In Doubt, Take Them Out (A babysitter’s creed)

[ 5 ] November 3, 2010 |

By Jeanine Silversmith

Recently, I helped a few friends out by watching their children. As a mother, I am certain I’m not built for more than two, so I was a bit nervous adding some fairly young ones into the mix. But these are good friends, and I jumped at each chance to help them out. Because, you know, a friend in need is a friend indeed. (Or is it “in deed”? Ever wonder? So did I — enough to find out more.)

kids-outsideWith four or five children under the age of 6, I could go on and on about the moments (er, hours?) of insanity. Like when the 2 year old spilled the fish out of its tank: “Oh! Dat fishy go plop!” Or when the 18 month old sobbed for 2 hours straight on my kitchen floor: “Mama. Sniff. Mama. Sniff. Mama. Sniff.” Or when the two strong-willed girls (my own included) played tug of war over a princess dress: “Riiiiipppppp!

Get the picture?

When I was completely overwhelmed and all the diapers were clean, we headed outside. Turns out the 2 year old was more than happy to play with dirt and dirt can’t suffocate. The weepy 18 month old is soothed by bubbles. The 4 and 5 year olds had more than enough space and toys outside to stay out of each others’ way. And I could take a deep breath (or a few dozen) of fresh air, let it out slowly, and enjoy observing their completely age-appropriate and downright delightful interactions.

So now, when I am faced with a “situation,” I remember: “When in doubt, take them out.”

Jeanine is a self-described tree hugging, science and math geek whose love of nature, coupled with her absolute certainty that people, especially children, are happier, healthier, and wiser when they regularly spend time in nature, led her to establish Rhode Island Families in Nature. She loves to run, garden, bake, hike, and go camping, especially when accompanied by her husband, Ian, her daughter, Sierra, and her son, Devin. They live in Wakefield.

Category: activities: outdoor, nature/science, play


Jeanine Silversmith

about the author ()

Jeanine is a self-described tree hugging, science and math geek whose love of nature, coupled with her absolute certainty that people, especially children, are happier, healthier, and wiser when they regularly spend time in nature, led her to establish Rhode Island Families in Nature. Jeanine also works for the RI Environmental Education Association, supporting formal and informal teachers as they create "place-based" curriculum. She loves to hike, run, garden, bake, and go camping, especially when accompanied by her husband, Ian, her daughter, Sierra, and her son, Devin. They live in Wakefield.

Comments (5)

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  1. erin goodman says:

    as always i LOVE your words jeanine!!!

    although i have to admit that as i was reading i felt a little pang of saddness about winter coming. i totally subscribe to the “when in doubt, take ’em out” philosophy three seasons of the year. but i have SUCH a hard time motivating myself to get outside when it is cold.

    working on gathering the right gear for myself. i have plenty of cold weather clothes for my kids but in years past i have really lacked in that department for myself.

    i’m thinking it will make a big difference if i can keep my fingers and toes and ears toasty!
    🙂

    ~erin

  2. I, too, have a hard time getting them out in the wintertime – and I’m the one who started RI Families in Nature! What works best for me is to extend the time we’re already out there. If I need to get the mail, I’ll take them with me and spend a few extra minutes checking out the clouds. After the bus drops off my daughter, we spend a little time talking to the neighbors. Before we get in the car to run errands, we fill up the birdfeeders and look for birds. It’s amazing how easy the minutes add up to an hour or more each day!

  3. erin goodman says:

    You are brilliant my dear!!!

  4. Bonnie Epstein says:

    You are SUCH a good writer! (as well as a person with great ideas!) I really think you should compile all of your columns for a book one day :>

  5. Thanks so much! Like I always say, I’m a science and math geek. But I gotta tell ya, I’m really liking this writing thing. I’m so happy Anisa encouraged me to do it. (Thanks, Anisa!)

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