When I was pregnant, I remember having fanciful notions of idyllic, precious moments I would share with my child in the garden. I’d seen babies strapped to their mother’s backs in Guatemala as the mothers tilled their land. I wanted to do this. People write books about ‘gardening with children’, espousing the benefits it brings. I wanted to be part of this. Earthy mother, child connected with nature. I wanted it all.
And then The Kid was born. I never quite got the baby wrapping thing right. I was in fear of him slipping out of his cocoon as I leaned over and planted seeds. Instead I wrapped him up in his cot to sleep and headed outside into the garden on my own, keeping one ear out for his cry. I enjoyed the alone time. Then as he got older, I would take him into the vegie patch. I wanted to teach him about how plants grow, where vegetables come from, how good they taste when they’re home grown. But quite frankly, toddlers in the garden are destructive. And I don’t recommend mixing the two. What they love is to be naked, to be given the hose and a pile of dirt and to make mud. This is when they are happy. Not digging neat holes, and planting straight lines of seeds. Continue reading