Toddler eats anything, everything

Gardening with a toddler is time consuming but extremely rewarding

It seems spring is upon us and gardening season has begun at our house.

When it was just my husband and I we enjoyed coming home after a long day at work and puttering in the yard and garden. Then two summers ago I was six months pregnant, sick the entire time and had no desire to be outside on my hands and knees planting and weeding in the summer heat. Then last year my son was seven months old and while he would sit for short periods of time he wouldn’t sit long enough for me to start a planting project and work at it. This year he is 19 months old and is eager to help, even though we make a bigger mess and we are covered in dirt when we’re done we have a lot of fun working together.

Working full time and being a mother and wife is very fulfilling but can also be stressful so once a week I get to have “mommy’s quiet time” which is the time I get to mow the lawn. I love mowing my lawn and I joke that riding on my mower is my happy place, I put my headphones in, crank the music and I get about three hours of uninterrupted “me” time. A few weeks ago during “me time” my husband decided he was going to get our son to help him plant some seeds. My husband is a great father. He spends a lot of quality time with our son and enjoys teaching him new things. My husband is extremely laid back and has patience for hours so I figured this would be a great bonding time for them while I mowed.

Our lawn is long and narrow so as I was mowing I could see how things were progressing each time I drove back up the lawn. I was laughing so hard watching the two men in life try to plant flowers together that the mow path I was on wasn’t as straight as it usually is. My husband likes to get everything together for a project before he starts it. My son on the other hand likes to throw everything around and then grab a tool and run away with it, this is only after he has tried eating it. I watched my husband set everything out nicely in a orderly fashion and my son was hauling things and throwing them in his water table. When it came time to put the dirt in the little pots my son was intrigued and decided he would like to help with this part. The only problem is he decided to taste the dirt as it was going in the pot. I see him eat a little dirt, then gag, then watch my husband trying to get him to drink from his cup and rinse his mouth. From my view perched on the mower it looked like adding water to the dirt just made mud. So my husband picked him up and headed inside, next round on the lawn I see them both come out of the house and my son has had his face cleaned and his mouth rinsed. They sat back down and started planting again and within two minutes my son has eaten more dirt. I watched them head back in the house and when they came out my son has a soother in his mouth.

One trick we have learned from having a toddler who eats anything and everything he can get his hands on is to ensure his soother is in his mouth. My son will leave the soother in his mouth which means his mouth is too full to stuff anything else in there, like dirt, twigs or grass… pretty much anything he can pick up. Eventually I moved around to mowing the backyard and couldn’t see them for a while and when I finished, an hour or so later, I came around to a front deck that was cleaned off and all the planting was done. I looked over at my son and saw a little boy who was very happy and was so pleased with the job he had done. I asked my husband how it went and he replied with his usual “just fine, we had a good time”.

Gardening and yard chores may take a little longer and be a whole lot messier but they are a lot more fun and enjoyable. Completing a project with my son and seeing how excited he is to learn makes me very happy, even though less is getting done and it takes three times as long, the projects are much more rewarding than they were before.

Christina Komives is sales manager for the Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.

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