Opportunity for Growth

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bear has trouble identifying what's alive and what's not.  I'm told it's not unusual for kiddos on the spectrum.

I've overheard him talking himself through it... "OK, my nuggle binkie doesn't have eyes. Or a mouth. And it can't hear. So it's not alive."

I asked his teacher if he'd learned that at school, maybe in the Social Skills group he participates in, but she said no.  So I was really proud of him for working that out on his own.

Child labor makes berries taste sweeter!
Then a few weeks ago he comes to me with "Miss P says carrots are alive." 

This came up many times over the last few weeks. Because it is very confusing for him - he thought he'd worked out the whole "alive" thing.

The conversations got even more interesting when he connected the dots and came back at me with "Animals are alive. Do we eat animals?"  But, I digress.

Shortly after the whole "carrots are alive" thing, the class planted grass in styrofoam cups. Thus, I found myself at Home Depot this morning buying potting soil and a planter for the carrot seeds I picked up at the farm stand when we went strawberry picking yesterday.

Because it's important for kids to understand where our food comes from, yadda yadda yadda. And I'm definitely not going to put in a strawberry patch, even though I've thought about it because my Grandma had one.

We pulled buckets of these worms off our tomato plants.
Here's the thing: I grew up with a big garden. I mean, a hayyuuuge garden. Some of the first houses we looked at when we were engaged had less square footage than this garden.

We grew loads of veggies and canned most of them to eat through the winter. Very Little House on the Prairie. I hated it as a kid - I have to say I don't know if it's worse to pull weeds or tomato worms - but now I appreciate how lucky we were to have such wonderful food literally in our back yard. I mean, to this day I can barely choke down a grocery store tomato.  In fact, I appreciate it so much that I stole  reappropriated borrowed my mom's old stash of canning stuff and started doing it on a limited basis with my friends.  Mostly dependable stuff with apples from local orchards or tomatoes from the farm stand, with a few haphazard pickling experiments and one hilariously botched pickle relish situation.

He planted hundreds of carrot seeds.
I want a garden here, but I live in the real world.  OK, suburbia, so not actually the real world. What I mean is I have to pay a sitter 10 bucks an hour just so I can email my clients to tell them I'm still on maternity leave because I don't have time to work. Which means the last thing I have time for right now is putting in a garden.  I was hoping to do it next year, when Bear will (hopefully) have a better attention span and I don't have drop everything to nurse the baby every 2 hours.

Besides, suburbia is this weird alternate reality where you have to buy dirt and there's no way to dispose of the sod you have to cut out in order to put in the dirt you bought. 

But. The Bear wants to grow carrots. So today, I worked it out and he planted some carrots.

 Certified organic carrot seeds.  In organic potting soil.  Hear that sound in the distance?  That's me, hugging a tree.

Now I must locate the Curious George episode where he grows carrots. Because I'm hoping the monkey will have an easier time making Bear understand they won't be ready until August.