The house at Pooh Corner

“I’ve been thinking,” said Pooh, “and what I’ve been thinking is this. I’ve been thinking about Eeyore.”
“What about Eeyore?”
“Well, poor Eeyore has nowhere to live.”
“Nor he has,” said Piglet.
“You have a house, Piglet, and I have a house, and they are very good houses. And Christopher Robin has a house, and Owl and Kanga and Rabbit have houses, and even Rabbit’s friends and relations have houses or somethings, but poor Eeyore has nothing. So what I’ve been thinking is: Let’s build him a house.”
“That,” said Piglet, “is a Grand Idea. Where shall we build it?”
“We will build it here,” said Pooh, “just by this wood, out of the wind, because this is where I thought of it. And we will call this Pooh Corner. And we will build an Eeyore House with sticks at Pooh Corner for Eeyore.”

A.A. Milne

Do you ever visualize what life might be like as a parent or the kind of things you might do with your kids? I have never made a habit of this but the one thing I always wanted to do and visualized myself doing, if I had kids, was spend time in the woods building a house for Eeyore.

Something I value very much in life is the outdoors. Whatever kind of day I’m having I always find getting out makes me feel better. My husband jokes that I am like a dog. I need a walk every day. To a certain extent, I believe that is true. It doesn’t have to be a walk per se, but the opportunity for fresh air is one I won’t turn down. As a new mummy, I made a conscious effort to take Poppi out of the house at least once a day.  Whether she slept, chatted or cried I got out every day and I think, three years and seven months later, that still remains to be the case.

Our bodies produce two types of stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. I expect most of us are familiar with the effects of adrenaline (especially if we are parents). Adrenaline kicks in when it has to when we have to get something done quickly. Adrenaline causes more blood to be pumped to our key muscles, an increased heart rate and temporarily increases our blood sugar levels. Adrenaline is a rapid response hormone and doesn’t last very long. We may be familiar with the after feeling – a sudden crash and exhaustion. However, this is often easily solved by eating something and taking five (not so easy if your little one has had to be rushed to the hospital (adrenaline pumping as you get them there) and then needs to be nursed overnight and for the next few days (adrenaline over but parent still going)). This is when a stressful state becomes more difficult to manage and the ability to call on help (another parent, our own parents, friends) becomes quite important.  If our state of stress is maintained our body is likely to start producing the other type of stress hormone, known as cortisol. Cortisol increases our blood sugar levels again, this time by forming glucose and other molecules (I won’t get too scientific here!). Because energy is being used to produce extra glucose other areas of our body, including our immune system, lose out and are acting in a weaker state. Therefore, the prolonged or consistent (and those two words are key here – this isn’t the case for the normal everyday stresses and the occasional extended stress incident) output of cortisol can become toxic for our bodies. We find ourselves in a state of constant hyperarousal leading to all sorts of challenges on our mind and body.  (I will talk a little more about stress in another post.)  So, anyway, what’s all that got to do with building houses for Eeyore?

A recent study concludes that children that spend time learning outdoors have a reduction in the amount of cortisol in their bodies between morning and noon ( So, not only does outside play allow for fantastic imagination, but it also reduces stress in our children (and ourselves).

When I was little we spent a lot of time outdoors. I remember birthday parties in the woods and building multiple dens (enjoy the pics!). And, as I said, I was keen to revive these fun times with my little girl, Poppi.  Poppi has developed her own little game and each den we find or build becomes her ice cream shop. The other week we took a trip to the woods and she was shouting out at the top of her voice (it was getting on in the day, so not many people around) “who wants an ice cream?” I then take the role of multiple customers requesting ice cream. (Tip: if you come across a little ice cream seller in the woods, be sure to ask for a pink unicorn ice cream or you might find yourself disappointed, as in, she doesn’t sell anything else!)

The other great thing I haven’t mentioned about outdoor play is that it’s totally free!! I assure you that you cannot go far wrong by taking a trip to the woods to build Eeyore a house. I’d love to hear what stories your little ones come up with too. Be prepared to invest a little yourself (it’s not a sit back and observe activity) but I can guarantee you will feel more relaxed for it as well.

You’ve got to love a bit of Winnie the Pooh and I have to agree with Piglet, that building a house for Eeyore truly is a grand idea.  No “silly old bear” about this one.

Go on, give it a go ?