It seemed like a good idea at the time.
The first item on my “to do” list today was “fix up garden.” Having done most of the hard work last fall, it was just a matter of clearing out winter debris, pulling a few stray plants, and planting the spring bulbs.
Two hours work, tops, right?
That was before my kids got involved.
I figured this was one of those projects my children and I could do together. So, first came the prep. My family is fair-skinned, so I broke out the sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. My kids took the slathering and accessorizing without complaint. I was lulled into a false sense of security.
Then it was off to the garage to get the tools. You should know my youngest son has a fixation with buttons; he is particularly fond of the garage because the door is automatic. It’s big, it’s very noisy, and you operate it with a button.
Twenty minutes later, after thoroughly exploring every angle at which you can halt the progress of a garage door, we managed to get the tools into the front yard. Among other things, I brought out two rakes: one was toddler-sized, new and bright green, while the other is ancient, unwieldy, and held together with duct tape. Of course, they all wanted mine.
They picked up the knack of raking in no time. Unfortunately, there being a great deal more rake handle than kid, their technique left me with a cauliflower ear, a bruised elbow, and a poked gut. They weren’t particularly interested in the patch of lawn I’d shown them either, preferring to rake the garden just like mummy. Sadly, the lily of the valley fared worse than I did — it’s just as well I was pulling it out anyway.
I finally convinced them to switch rakes, and I thought we were making good progress. Then I realized they were taking great armloads of leaves and throwing them *back* into the flower beds and dissolving into giggles. I decided it was time to demonstrate how much fun bagging leaves could be.
That was when they decided to explore the juniper. Juniper are not nice bushes. They’re very prickly and scratchy, and they have thin branches which make it impossible to push off and stand up. Toddlers are not very patient about this sort of thing. Fortunately, my daughter is not allergic to them; me, I get a bright red, stinging rash on contact. We won’t go into how I got the black eye, except that it has to do with impatient toddlers flailing about before they realize they’ve been rescued.
After fishing her out, pausing for a snack, finishing the raking, stopping for a nappy change, bagging the leaves, and feeding them lunch, it was time to plant. I gave each of them their very own pot full of dirt and a trowel, which they thought was great. And for fifteen minutes, I was able to work quickly and quietly, digging holes and dropping in bulbs according to the pattern I’d plotted out in my head.
Did I mention toddlers have the ability to teleport?
One minute she was happily flinging dirt onto the grass; the next minute she was beside me, having already rearranged all of the “onions!” I’d just planted and added a few choice items of her own. I will have anemone squeezed in between the freesia, tigridia mixed in with the mirabilis, and tulips shooting up beside the Fisher Price gas station action figure.
I will not say much about what happened when it was time to water the garden, except that I learned three things:
1) My shoes are not waterproof. 2) Diapers really *are* very absorbent. The brand we use can hold approximately 38 lbs of water without falling off. 3) Upturned pant cuffs, pockets and sleeves are apparently great places to hide handfuls of dirt.
So here I sit, bruised, battered, itching like mad, and contemplating an evening of mud-caked laundry … after I’ve dealt with the bathtub, which now holds most of the garden’s topsoil.
Would I do it again?
Only if I can find where they planted my rake.