Guest blog: Our back door to nature

Our Back Door To Nature

To introduce myself; I’m Stephen, a Daddy blogger and parent to a 16-month-old Munchkin. I’m a currently furloughed Product Development Scientist and alternatively pouring all my efforts into Munchkin development. As much as I enjoy this temporary role as a ‘Munchkin Development Scientist’, I am keen to return one day to developing assays when its safe.  

Me and the Munchkin.

From the off, myself and my Wife decided to fully co-parent, sharing her maternity leave with me like we share all the roles such as the cooking and the cleaning, and this started the adventures Daddy and Munchkin. Soon after, to avoid my mind becoming a mush of counting to three, stacking blocks and nursery rhymes, I turned to blogging to share my thoughts.

We discovered Munchkin’s love of nature young on a trip to a Natural Trust garden when he was just months. His faced glowed with intrigue as he admired the trees towering above him, the floating plants and birds on the lake and the beauty of the flowerbeds. Now at 16 months, on stormy days he crawls to the window of his playroom, stands, and tries to reach the handle to get outside.

Our first National Trust visit.

Writing this in lockdown, the situation has been slightly different with being limited to our garden and the local area. At home, we make sure we get into the garden whenever we can. We take some toys, but he soon gets distracted by the bugs that crawl across his mat. He has learnt how while he can stoke a cat, he shouldn’t stoke a delicate bug, and this makes for a proud Daddy. We planted some sunflower seeds and so are watching them grow day by day and learning what they need to grow.

Planting his first seed (it was a messy affair)

We are mid – garden development currently. Lucky for Munchkin, the future plans now include a mud kitchen, bug hotel and bird feeding station 😊.  We have chillies and tomatoes growing this year but will set up a planter so he can grow and learn about all different kinds of vegetables this time next year.

It’s fascinating to let Munchkin roam free in the garden, see where he goes and what interests him. If its not a bit of mud to squelch, he always admiring a new plant, or weed intruder on our new grass. He also often can just sit there and watch the birds overhead, pointing them out to us or having little conversations with them.

When we walk, which we do daily, we often try to escape the paths and roads and find ourselves powering down farm tracks or into fields. We admire the trees and we ‘talk’ about the farm fields and the crops, the wind turbines providing natural energy and the beauty of natural spots away from the hustle and bustle of the town. We recently found a huge field, just a short walk away which will be the perfect spot for spontaneous picnics to explore the outdoors when the weather improves.

A walk into the fields.

We endeavour to protect Munchkins future and the natural world and teach him so. We tell him why we use biodegradable wipes and why he has a lot of wooden toys, or second hand plastics, why we walk, rather than drive to local shops and why we avoid food waste and compost what we have to waste.

While we have these conversations with him, I know he’d rather hear about ‘Incy wincy spider’ or the ‘Five Little Ducks’, however I feel by talking to him about everything, including the natural world so young, he will learn to appreciate it.

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to read more, my blog can be found at www.daddyandmunchkin.blog