Friday, May 20, 2011

not a magical garden

not a magical garden
The sun's been out, but it's been a sad week. We will not be expecting a magical garden this year. For Easter, Lilly received a garden kit from her grandparents, Gerome's Magical Garden, and she's been pretty psyched about getting out to plant. We've been reading the book about Gerome the Garden Gnome, watching Curious George Goes Green!, and I've been looking forward to including her more in my gardening than last year where the goal primarily seemed to be to keep her out of my garden.

Gerome's Magical Garden
Finally, on Tuesday, we got her pots and seed packets out, the little figurines of Gerome the Gnome with his rake & trowel tool and Terra from the Land of Worms, and one cubic foot of potting soil. Lilly got her new gardening gloves on and following the illustrated instructions, we filled the three pots with soil, watered the dirt, added more soil, and then planted the seeds. Aside from the fact that this small feat took the entire morning, I felt pretty good about it; at times bursting with pride at my little toddler gardener who was executing the tasks with laborious meticulousness.

My inflated pride deflated after I'd gone in to get her some milk. Returning outside, I find her covered with dirt, one pot half emptied, the dirt stirred in another where some daffodils and sticks had been planted alongside the figurines. The third appeared untouched.

I wish I could be more relaxed about all of this, like fellow mama blogger Tessapho who surrenders to permissiveness, embracing her mud monster kids, and who gives her toddler daughter free rein to plant in the garden, reporting with a smile that she "expects lettuce to grow everywhere, including the lawn. And possibly her nostrils." But I can't. I've been cranky. I could blame it on getting my period, but I fear this is more about me.

Despite my not-so-fine reaction to her creative gardening, Lilly's been nagging me about getting out there to plant more. So later this week, we made another attempt. In one long afternoon, we accomplished to plant one row of peas, and push me even further towards the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your KidsI should maybe add that Gerome's Magical Garden kit is recommended for kids ages four and up, and Lilly is only (a month short of) three. But in the spirit of gardening expert Rebecca P. Cohen whose Fifteen Minutes Outside aimed at preschool to elementary-aged children recommends getting the children involved in a "family garden," I really love the idea of a space we would nurture together.

Rain has returned today, providing me with some welcome reprieve from the garden issue. I will soak it up until the sun comes back by when I hopefully have regrouped myself to face it again: the un-magical garden where the real challenges (and some joys) of parenting play out.

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