Monday, May 23, 2011

Gardening With a 4-year-old: Dream vs. Reality

When we started house shopping last spring, I wasn’t looking for a gigantic yard—a.k.a. a large black hole for time, energy, and extra dollars. Been there, done that. But somehow, a big yard found us. Slowly but surely, the raised beds and mature trees began to cast a spell on me. It WAS sort of idyllic. If you squinted, it was almost lush (courtesy of moss and dandelions, but still). Before long, gardening dreams started to blossom.

I was especially excited about sharing the experience with my preschooler. She’ll learn about science! The miracle of life! She’ll collect colorful, wholesome farm-to-fork memories and delight her future children with tales of picking homegrown beans in the backyard. Perhaps she might even be persuaded to eat a bean or two (since she watched them grow and all).

Fast forward to this spring, when our planting-day experience went something like this:

Me: “OK, here are the rows, now let’s put the seeds in one by one…wait, not the entire packet…wait, which packet was that? WHICH one? Honey, don’t tear the packet, we need to save it. PLEASE, don’t get it wet! Wait, maybe I can still get them out, hold on.”

Her: “Look, mommy, I’m raking them!”

Me: “Time to go inside.”

And that was it. Now, to show for my trouble, I have a bunch of brave little seedlings growing in a mangled clump. If they make it, I might get to find out what they are.

Plus, she likes to pluck any blooms that open “to make food for the plants.” Nice sentiment, but the result is a barren garden with dead, wilting flowers dotting the dirt.

I still have gardening dreams. They’re just on hold until she’s 6 or 7.

The seedlings. I think they're carrots, but honestly, who really knows. And why is my garden filled with rocks?

At least I have lilacs to make me happy!


truf said...

So True! We gave each of our kids their own "garden plots" around the yard and tried to let go of control and let them be...then we set "rules" for the family garden!! It's worked fairly well for us so far. Good Luck!

Malia said...

Tara, that's essentially what I've done--I chose a spot, planted some colorful flowers, and I just let her pick to her heart's content. The "letting go of control" part is hard for me, but I'm working on it!

Kora said...

Ok, that was hilarious :). Good luck!