I read one of those lovely homespun magazine articles about parenting a while back. It gave me a guilt complex I try to get rid of every spring during planting season.
In this article, the parents happily involved their children in all gardening and yard work tasks."After all," the wise parent was quoted as saying, "we are raising more than carrots."
So I've tried. Honestly, I've tried, but gardening and kids has yet to raise more than heck at my home. I, too, am raising more than carrots . . . I'm raising terrorists.
Grandparents, kind-hearted, but terribly forgetful, often tell mothers of young children, "Oh my dear, as soon as you blink, they'll all be grown up."
Don't believe them, and for heaven's sake, don't ever try it - blinking, I mean. As soon as you do, your child is likely to terrorize the neighborhood.
My young son tried to help our elderly neighbor water his garden one spring afternoon. He found a can with a spigot, toddled over to Mr. Retired's show-place garden on his cute little chubby legs and proceeded to do his good deed for the day. The problem was, the can with the spigot didn't turn out to be a watering can. In two minutes flat, this son had dumped an entire gallon of gasoline on our neighbor's pride and joy.
The next day, while I was planting petunias in the front yard flower bed, my 3-year-old and 4-year old daughters ran toward me yelling, "Mom! Look what we found floating down the ditch."
They each held a beautiful, perfectly-formed purple petunia, root and all, in their palms.
"That's strange," I said taking the flowers. "I hate to see these pretty flowers go to waste. I guess I'll just plant them here with the pink ones I'm already planting. Purple and pink go nicely together."
For 10 minutes, these daughters ran back and forth from the ditch and proudly presented me with about 30 of the mysterious purple petunias. That's when I noticed my 2-year-old son over at Mr. Retired's (yes, the same one with the dead garden) pride-and-joy flower bed. My young son was pulling my neighbor's petunias out as fast as he could, then racing over to the ditch and tossing them in. Whereupon his sisters, about a block down, would "discover" them floating in the ditch and bring them back to me. I had now successfully replanted my neighbor's entire flower bed in my yard.
My neighbors moved soon after that. I never could figure out why they gave up their yard for trailer court asphalt.