Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dirt Under our Fingernails

I'm starting to firmly believe that dirt belongs under little fingernails, and that if a child doesn't have dirt under their nails once in a while, something is missing.

This is gardening week - I'm kind of randomly picking a theme for every week this year - and for some reason, I thought that it would be challenging getting a two-year-old interested in something as abstract as putting tiny round things (seeds) in the ground, giving them water, and waiting for days for them to do something magical underground.

Oddly, I didn't have to try hard at all. We grabbed a few books about plants and gardens at the library, read only three of them, slipped into a bathing suit and sandals and went outside to play in the dirt.

I forgot how delightful dirt is to children. Mostly because I developed a primary association of yardwork with a summer episode of weeding when I was about eleven where our family went outside in the Florida sun and heat and removed most of the plants from our backyard.  I had outgrown the delight of playing in the dirt, and truth be told, yardwork in Florida isn't fun no matter who you are, when you do it, or how much you love plants.

Armed with trowels and a few seed packets, Soren and I went out and planted seeds in our garden. Shockingly, I think he perfectly understood what we were doing, preempting instruction and tossing seeds into the dirt. He's reminded me dutifully every day that we need to fire up the hose and water our seeds. When I finally got around to showing him some YouTube time lapse videos of seeds germinating, leaves growing, vines winding, and more, he was delighted.  He kept declaring excitedly, "Seeds do, Mom!" Yes, that's what seeds do.

I'm having fun. He's having fun. And I'm actually getting some yard work done in this delightful January weather in Florida.  Hope you're faring well up North and thinking about getting dirt under your nails with your kids in the coming weeks and months. It's delightful.

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