A Flower Adventure

My little boy has a new favorite book: Mortimer's First Garden, by Karma Wilson. It's a neat story, I can see why he likes it. But honestly? I could have never dreamed where my son's fascination with that book would take us.

Mortimer's First Garden is a story about a mouse who plants a seed and waits for a flower to grow. It takes a lot of work, but eventually the faithful critter is rewarded by a "bright and bold" yellow flower.
The morning after reading that story to my son for the first time, he came to me and grabbed my hands with sparkling eyes.
"Momma! Momma! I planted a garden! It's going to grow into a miracle!" he exclaimed.
I went outside with him and discovered that he indeed had a project going. There was a tiny pile of wet sand beside the maple tree in the front yard.
He showed me that he had gotten the sand from his sandbox, and that he had watered it with a bottle-cap and numerous trips to the bathroom sink. When I asked where he got the seed, he proudly informed me that it was a little leaf from the nearby tree.
I smiled and sighed. My sweet, innocent four-year-old.
"Son... you did a good job, but leaves don't grow. You have to use an actual seed. Do you want Mommy to help you plant a real seed?"
Both my son and his sister were exceedingly excited about that.

The next day, the three of us tromped out to the front yard's flowerbeds. My husband and I grow marigolds out there every year, and it was planting time anyway.
First, we had to clear the old brown plants away and prepare the soil, then we harvested and re-planted the seeds so a new generation could grow. My son set aside part of the flowerbed as his very own, and worked hard so that it was just as cultivated as my part. We also planted a couple seeds around where he had formerly planted the leaf.
The gardening took a couple hours, and there was lots of opportunity for fun and discussion. My children had seen several different kinds of bugs before, but since it was newly spring and they had been cooped up in the house all winter, everything seemed new and exciting.
"Momma! Momma! Look! A little snake!" my boy yelled before long.
"That's an earthworm, sweetheart."
"What's it doing in the dirt?"
"It eats dirt and poops out plant vitamins." 
"Oh.... Is it pooping now?"
My kids watched that poor thing for so long it probably got embarrassed. 
Soon, something else caught their attention though.
"MOMMA! There's a wormy-spider!"
I figured my boy had probably seen a spider eating a worm. But nope. It was a centipede. I laughed and laughed. Children see things so grandly different than "grown-ups" do.

The day after we planted the marigolds, I took the kids out every morning to check on their garden.
"Brown, soggy dirt!" my son would exclaim every time he saw the rain soaked earth. He was remembering and quoting from the book that started this whole adventure.
It didn't take long, soon little green sprouts started poking their heads up out of the ground. The kids were excited and danced around, but I noticed with dismay that the distribution of seedlings was uneven. My part of the garden was covered in sprouts, but my son's part was almost entirely bare. Apparently he had chosen a place too close to the original maple tree where his first "seed" was. The ground was overgrown with scraggly roots just under the surface.

As the days passed, it became more and more obvious that my flowerbed was flourishing and that my son's was not. He checked on his garden every day, and we kept it well watered, but the results continued to be disappointing. My son kept his faith, but his face started looking droopy at the lack of progress.
However, this is where my wonderful mother enters stage left. (This isn't her first rodeo with raising kids, you know.) She had heard about our unbalanced garden dilemma, and she knew just what to do.
Today, Mom brought over a couple pallets of small marigold plants. She kept them hidden until my children took a nap, then, while they were in bed, she went out to the flowerbeds and decorated my son's side of the garden with bright yellow flowers. Even his original spot by the maple tree and my two-year-old daughter's mound of dirt got a flower settled into it.
Then, when the deed was finished, we let my kids up from their nap. Mom asked my boy if he would show her his flower garden before she went back home. He excitedly scampered outside to show her, expecting a few little green things, but then his eyes got huge when he saw the yellow flowers dotted about.He acted casual, like he had expected flowers to show up all along, but he kept looking at the blooms and smelling them, as if making sure they were really there. My daughter was excited to see a double-bloom on her little mound, too. And more than once we had to remind her not to pick them.
When we got back inside, it was time to read Mortimer's First Garden again.
My boy loved it just as much, or maybe more, than he had the first time.
And now he won't stop talking about his "miracle". It's the sweetest thing.
Thanks, Mom, for making that little dream possible for him. You inspire me.

1 comment:

  1. So cute :) And I love your mom giving him some miracle flowers :) Kinda like the tooth fairy but with flowers ;)