Are you a family of tree sitters?

I just realised that we must be! My daughter is forever climbing trees – at high school no less; seems to be a good way to evade the teachers…they actually have to walk over to the tree and look up to see if there are kids in it, as opposed to yelling from metres away. That reminded me of my boys coming home from high school saying how good it was that the peach trees along the side of the school were in season because they were shinning up the fence, sitting either on the fence or in the tree and eating them – fresh food for recess? do you need a Healthy School Canteen? No, just get the neighbours to grow fruit and tell the kids not to go there. The neighbours must have felt like the kids were flocks of birds swooping down on the trees – there were never any complaints so maybe there wasn’t anyone else to eat them. And maybe they enjoyed the sight of kids just plain enjoying themselves. I think older people do enjoy that sometimes. Kids may be noisy but if they are having fun and not hurting anyone it can bring back memories for them. I was telling my stepmother about my apple trees – I lost half the fruit because I didn’t pick it early – I wanted tree ripened fruit. I got galahs! I left one apple at the top that the birds had been enjoying, but they ate all the rest as well. Guess I’ll be buyiing netting next year! The apples taste awesome tho when the cold weather hits – gives them a really different taste. There is an apple tree on the side of the highway between here and Canberra – I hadn’t noticed it till it was covered in apples and I drove by! There are a lot of apple trees grown in the older streets here – instead of bottle brush and gum trees they used to grow apple trees – what a fantastic idea! Kids come home from school, sport or playing ‘Are you hungry pet?’ ‘Nope, had some apples/peaches on the way home mum.’ I like that idea. Why do we need to have so many organised sport activities, school exercise programs, dietary lessons, healthy school campaigns, healthy eating campaigns for all of us? Wouldn’t it make more sense if they just planted some edible trees and let us climb them and eat them? Organic, heart smart, improves your food expenditure, gets you out there looking for something to eat (and don’t we all love a bargain), for kids instead of a small plastic toy they could have a small exciting climb; improves social bonding (although it could be a problem if your children were fruit bats like mine and ate too many,) but getting out into the community would improve mental health and you might even go for a short stroll along the street saying ‘hello’ to your neighbours and admiring everyone’s gardens. Really I hope the government takes up my idea of a new healthy initiative. I’m sick to death of sending my kids to school to do sports that require uniforms, money, buses to get there etc – I send them to school to learn Readin’ Writin’ and Rithmetic! Let’s be more of a community and let our kids have fun, just for fun, out in the open (admittedly freezing) air. My stepmother was telling me about her childhood when all the kids used to go to school via the local orchard and raid it – oops, I guess stealing fruit is nothing new. She remembers school by the fruit that was in season at the time. Apparently they also got some athletics training as well since the owners used to set the Alsation on them if they heard them.
When the boys went to Montessori Preschool there was a good climbing tree in the yard (along with an expensive plastic play area with safefall under it) my rules were you could climb the tree on the way home from preschool but not on the way in. There were a couple of mornings where I delivered the bags to the school and told them the boys were stuck in the tree. Yes, they did learn to get themselves down again! I’ve only been to the Sydney Botanical Gardens a couple of times. The trees are the reason – the reason the place looks so awesome, and the reason it wasn’t safe to go there with two small monkeys. Those huuuuuuge trees are far too tempting for small boys, and far to embarrassing for mum with the stroller hissing ‘get down, get down, GET DOWN NOW!’ The fact that it is also on the side of Sydney Harbour – beautiful views, absolutely gorgeous – but no way was I going to be fishing those two monkeys out of the harbour; I don’t swim very well, and the baby in the stroller? So we should probably go to the gardens next time we’re in Sydney…I might actually be able to enjoy it!
As for me? Well I recall the two sports seasons I signed on to do tennis – not because I could play, or because I wanted to play. But because my friends chose it – it was the least active choice lol. And we used to sit in the willow tree at the side of the tennis courts and chat, and laugh, and just have fun. When the teachers made us have a turn on the court we would decide whose turn it was to win, go out and hit or miss the ball for about 10 mins then go tell them our agreed score and retire back tree dwelling.
So healthy active kids? Maybe we should be letting them have some freedom and fun so they can do it naturally? And maybe we could be taking a wander outside at the same time to provide them with some supervision and us with some gentle exercise and relaxation – oh and don’t forget to take the dog with you too – he needs it as much as the rest of us! So happy healthy kids? Happy healthy familes? Nope. Happy healthy communities? That’s more like it!

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