Tuesday, 20 May 2014
Wild garlic, falafel and minor disasters
Off we went, the kids eyes shining with the excitement of the adventure into the tiny strip of woodland near our house. We found heaps of wild garlic straight away and I set the boys the challenge of picking the nicest, cleanest, greenest leaves they could find. Ollie picked carefully and proudly showed me the 'bestest leaves' that he'd picked. Toby picked equally carefully but preferred the white garlic flowers to picking leaves. Then we had our first minor disaster as Ollie ran along the path and fell over, right onto a protruding root and bruising his hip. Commence the first barrage of crying (Ollie can be quite a toughy, but this one really hurt). I applied a dob of 'magic cream' (a tin of lipsalve), Toby gave Ollie cuddles and off we went again.
Off we stomped, recovering the situation enough to marvel at an ermine moth that the boys found on a fence on the way home. Then minor disaster number three when Ollie somehow managed to stab himself with the stick he was carrying, grazing his neck. More tears. We got in, clothes straight into the washing machine, kids straight into the bath, antiseptic wipe applied to grazes, clean outfits on, breathe all is well again.
I wanted to write this not to put anyone off going outside, having adventures, cooking with kids or any of the other things I advocate. I just wanted to say that sometimes things go a bit wrong, but that's ok. If we spend all our time idealising about this amazing experience we're expecting because we saw it in a magazine we can give ourselves a hard time when reality isn't like that. So yes, sometime poop will (quite literally) happen, but it's not the end of the world and so long as we've packed the wipes, maybe some hand sanitizer, if you're super organised some spare clothes too, then it's all pretty quickly fixed. It's so good for a parent's mental state. I don't know if I'd have dealt with it all with patience and good humour if I hadn't spent time first just breathing in the woods, smelling the smells and filling my brain with birdsong instead of the incessant demands of my own little chicks. As for the kids, they forget the poop and just remember the brilliant time they had having an adventure with you.
Note, foraging is loads of fun, but if you're not completely certain what something is, don't eat it. Follow your local advice and laws regarding what and where you can pick. Drum it into your little folk not to put anything in their mouth that they haven't showed you first, or that you have given to them. use your best judgement for when your kids are ready to go foraging because they can follow this rule. Organised groups are a great way to get involved in foraging with an expert to give you peace of mind, and gut, that you're not picking anything unsavoury. Usual common sense - you know the drill.