Gardening With Children

nancy_drew(5 nw chgo burbs)May 7, 2009

My husband e-mailed this to me today. I had to chuckle, my son watched way too many vidoes over and over again... I can SO relate...

For this Mother's Day weekend I wanted to a share a true story with you about gardening with children.

Working in the yard is a hobby for me, a relaxing way to be outside and productive. I try to include my child in the process, encouraging him to plant, grow and nurture plants with the pay off being fresh vegetables for the summer. I liken myself to "Captain Planet" and Brett, my six-year-old son, is my little "Planeteer".

Staying in the green theme, I have explained to my kids that I do not use pesticides on the garden or plants and I use biodegradable household products, therefore helping save the planet.

I have accepted recycling my cans, stacking and tying my newspapers, separating and organizing my bottles by color, showing each neighbor what I drink, and how much. I have my milk delivered, in glass jars right next to the water jugs, which are also delivered. Eliminating number three triangle non-recyclable milk cartons entirely, in addition I wash out sandwich bags for re-use, cut six pack plastic rings so the ducks stay safe, buy dolphin friendly tuna fish and free range chicken.

In the bathroom, shampoo is bought in gallons, so we re- use one bottle over again. When my son can read better he will see that we have been using 'lemon joy' on our hair for three years now. So I say, Go Planet! Reduce - Reuse - Recycle! That's my motto.

"Why the egg shells Mom?" Brett asked me recently.

"They stop the slugs and snails from getting into the plants," I answer him, proud of my environmental friendly garden. "And," I continued, "I place dried grass around the potato plants, to kill the beetles." Satisfied, my little environmental specialist goes in to watch a movie. I relax alone in the garden. Letting him walk away was my mistake, and I know it now.

Did I, as a mother and consumer, do something to encourage the rash of movies portraying talking bugs, which have better lives than I do? My child asked for an ant farm and I bought it. I didn't know that grasshoppers should be destroyed to save the colony; I do now, because when my son asked me for this new bug movie, I bought it.

Thanks to the magic of Hollywood, my child believes the movie to be true to life, teaching him compassion, and understanding for a bug's life, yet at what cost? At the cost of my garden, my sanctuary, and quite possibly my sanity - "Mom's garden" is now, in my child's eyes, a death camp for every single solitary bug, worm, aphid, bee, fly, gnat, slug, snail, and finally ANT that cares to grab a snack off my once green and healthy plants.

Through the magic of a television, these computer-animated creatures come to life to share their lives, troubles and struggles to survive with our human children. We watch them run in fear from other insects before hosting by parties and a circus. I forego my hobby to these blue ants and their Queen, who have aphids as pets.

How horrible must I look to my children when I pluck ants off my plants, and tossing them aside with disgust; when I smother poor beetles, smiling with pride as they lie dead at the base of potato plants; when I cover the ground with a layer of baking soda, salt and vinegar to annihilate the little white worms that will devour every seed I lovingly put into the dirt; or especially when I sprinkle eggshells on the ground to protect the tomatoes, therefore slicing up the bellies of slugs or snails that cross it?

Brett sleeps on ANTZ sheets and under a Bugs Life comforter and his room is lined with their movie posters. To him I am a murderer a "destroyer of the colony".

Now, the joy of gardening gone, I sit and talk with my son. "Mom, aphids make good pets." I nod my head in agreement; reach towards the rose bush grab a single green fat aphid, one of many freely climbing the bush. I hand it to my son and walk away.

Thanks once again, Hollywood, for robbing me -- not only the $24.95 for the movie, but of my sanctuary. After all, I can't in good conscience continue the slaughter of bugs in order to justify one of Brett's least favorite things...vegetables.

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Nancy drew,
You are a very good mom,as time marches on, your children will remember all that you have tought them,he will grow out of the bug stage,and forget that you did away with a few.
When my children were small,we lived our life as you do now, execpt for the recycling,we didn't know any better,but we do now.
I made my own bread,butter,yogurt,all from fresh milk from a farmer,canned all our food, ground my own winter wheat,and on and on.
My children would have dyed for a white bread sandwhich,to them, it was like eating cake.
They are all grow up now,and all but one,is very conscious of our enviroment,my daughter and her hubby have started their own business making Organic face and body soap,nothing intheir home goes to waste.

Trust me, your children will be a better care taker of our great earth than we are.You are doing a good job.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 2:27PM
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Nancy, why are you not writing a column? That needs to be published!
p.s. Please don't tell your son that I put Japanese beetles in a can with rocks and give it a good shake!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 7:13PM
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nancy_drew(5 nw chgo burbs)

I did not write this, my husband sent it to me in an e-mail. Our son watched those two movies over and over, he had a "Bug Collection/pets" and mourned the loss of each one. He had every Bug's Life toy and every Antz toy. I just found it so relatable!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 8:40PM
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