Letting him eat dirt

Spotless. Pristine. Bored.

These are not words I use to describe my son.

Messy. Dirty. Inquisitive.

These are the ones I am more apt to employ. Never have they been more justified then yesterday. We moved azaleas from my grandmother’s house to our front yard. They will get the sun they need, and the front of our house will get some much needed change. Moving bushes means digging holes. Holes mean piles of dirt.

It is a special day in a child’s life when he discovers the pleasure of dirt. It squishes. It can be piled and dumped. It can go back in and then come out again. We could have trapped him in his playpen, but then he would have missed these important discoveries. We both watched him crawl around the grass and make new friends with the neighbors and their dogs. We looked on as he pulled down pots of dirt and cruised toward piles. And neither of us moved fast enough when he put a handful of it in his mouth.

We told him no, and he went back to playing. Then he did it again because he’s still a baby. Eventually, we took our slightly muddy boy with dirt caked under his nails and streaks on his face inside for dinner.

Perfect. I suppose that’s the other word I use.

Dirt Therapy

It’s another dreary, overcast day, which, as always, put me in a funk. This general funkiness was compounded by the fact that I was tired, the kid was screaming for lunch, and the dog was whining incessantly for whatever he didn’t have right then. I was about ready to mentally shut down and throw a blanket over my head. Not that that would have solved any problems, but it would have felt nice to disappear for a moment. Then the baby finally fell asleep, and the dog had gone in and out enough times to satisfy whatever canine imperative he was feeling.

For a moment there was silence, and yet the funk persisted. So I went outside and planted pansies in my front flower bed. I have no idea what I’m doing when I plant flowers. I never remember to water them, and I never seem to plant them in the right location. Basically, it’s by sheer evolutionary design that any pretty plant is able to survive living in my yard. It’s a personal goal to get better at growing flowers, but for today, the simple act of putting them in the ground made me feel better. I eschewed my gloves and went for the soggy earth with my fingernails. I dug holes, loosened roots and firmed them into the ground. Then I hit the raised bed and pulled out the cherry tomato plants. I planted kale seeds a few weeks ago so I thinned those seedlings and also replanted the areas where none had sprouted. Where the tomatoes were, I planted collard greens. The basil is still going strong, so I am going to leave it in the bed until I make pizza or the first frost, whichever happens first.

It’s still dreary outside, but I smell slightly loamy and feel much happier.