Birdie decided to wear the deer hat I made her for today's big hike. She thought she could deflect ticks (of which there were THOUSANDS) and try to attract wildlife at the same time. She had high hopes that Bambi would mosey right up to her and start a conversation-- and I am sure she would have been more than happy to interpret "deer" so that the rest of the troop could follow along. I am sad to report that no such wildlife encounter occurred. Birdie and several of her troop sisters did, however, point out a dead vole, a scat deposit (lying suspiciously next to the vole, like some sort of nature-mob manifesto), several bugs and a caterpillar, lichen, tree fungi, and every other "cool piece of nature" she could find. The dead vole and the animal poo, which we suspect may have been from a fox, were all Birdie could talk about on the drive home. Welcome to my world, y'all.
|Doesn't she look thrilled in this picture? Birdie really is having a blast, she just needs a snack--|
and the troop leader caught her just before she grinned. (See the nifty hat I made?)
Princess followed along in the back of the pack for most of the hike, enjoying the surroundings and fussing over her pant legs. (They were not even, according to P, and she stopped every step or two to push each pant leg down with her shoes.) As on nearly all our walks in the woods, Princess seemed relaxed and at ease most of the time-- not bothered in the least by the other people with whom she was sharing the woods. She had plenty of personal space and not a lot of noise, which is her perfect recipe for happiness. The only blip on the hike was when P joined the rest of the troop so that she and Birdie could take their turn leading the hiking line together. (Sharing the lead? Not gonna happen at 5:30 in the afternoon, EVER.) This storm blew over very quickly, though, and we were back on track to finish our hiking badge.
|Princess was being careful not to drop her map as she crossed the log. (Another pic by the troop leader)|
A few minutes later, when the hike was over and we were heading to the parking lot, all the girls in the troop took off running to play in the field near our parked cars. I was pleasantly surprised to see that both Birdie and Princess ran off with the group too. This was the first time that Princess volunteered to play with/near her fellow Girl Scouts after the meeting time had lapsed. Normally, she would race straight to the car as soon as the Girl Scout meeting was over, ready to mark that item off her list of things to do and get the heck out of there. Today, even with the promise of a Happy Meal for dinner on the drive home, P ran off to explore the field with her troop sisters. Yes! Finally!!!! It has taken nearly two years of bimonthly troop meetings and outings, but today Princess finally felt enough confidence in this group of girls that she wanted to stay and play longer. Maybe it was the woods working it magic on her... Regardless, I feel like we experienced a major accomplishment this evening.
Small steps like this often require long periods of time to accomplish, but the results are worth the wait. I'm glad I was patient enough to wait this one out. Princess chatted most of the way home about the time she spent after the hike with her "Girl Scout friends."