Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

My family is pretty young but we have established one family tradition - putting in the garden. It is something I really love and look forward to doing together every year.

It kicks off on Mother's Day, continues on my birthday (May 17) and if all goes well we wrap it up on Memorial Day weekend. It's hard to start much earlier than that since our Chicago weather is getting progressively weirder and harder to predict. So, if we are able to start digging and planting on Mother's Day weekend, I'm happy.

My little girl was very helpful this year - the first year she seems to really be interested in what is going on in the garden. She knows the difference between a crocus, a hyacinth and a tulip, nodded wisely when I pointed out the clematis buds (and counted them for me) and even found a displaced earthworm. I picked up the worm and we looked at him. The worm wiggled a bit and we talked about which end was his head and then he decided to show us which end was his bum in real time, live-action. Yup, he pooped on me. Twice.

It's truly amazing how much you can control your urge to shriek "EEEWWWWWWWW" and jump around furiously shaking the worm off your hand when your 3-year old is standing there watching you. You act calm and matter-of-fact and tell her "oh, that's no big deal. In fact, earthworm poop is GOOD for the garden, so it's GOOD that he's pooping!!" I think she half believed me, but she gracefully declined to hold the worm after that incident. Can't say I blame her.

So, she helped me dig around and as you can see she was very focused on her task. I can't help but notice her plumber's crack. Poor girl seems to suffer from that phenomenon a lot but at 3-years old it's cute, isn't it?

Whoops - I guess she noticed me back there snooping on her. Did you notice she has swiped her brother's little red plastic shovel? If it belongs to him, no matter what it is, it immediately becomes 1000% more valuable to her. It's interesting to me that she has always been very conscientious about cleaning up (don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not complaining!) since, while I like a neat and clean house, honestly it isn't in that condition very often. She is using her little broom from Appalachia (thanks Uncle Brian and Aunt Marylinda!) to sweep up the dirt after her task. I don't even know what the task was supposed to be, but I'm glad she is cleaning up after herself.

My little guy doesn't do much in the garden yet, but he did help us clean up for our cook-out yesterday. He loves to clean too - he took this yellow chamois thing and was wiping anything he could. Since he loves to climb what better thing to clean than the bathroom sink? Gives him a good excuse to climb on his sister's step-stool (he LOVES that step-stool). Look at the look on his face - doesn't he look guilty? He knows he isn't supposed to climb up there!

"OK, I'm just going to look busy and Mom won't notice I'm on the stool. Hmmmmm, I think I missed a spot there..."

"Mom, are you mad that I'm up on this stool? But how else can I clean this sink?"

"OK, I dropped the yellow chamois thing. Are you still mad that I'm up on the stool?"

"Pssssst! When all else fails, look pleadingly at your Mommy with outstretched arms. She'll forget everything. Trust me"

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