Gardening with a Two-Year-Old: Life Lessons Learned

April 29, 2011 | 10:04 am

Lately, watering the garden has moved to a whole new level at my house. You see my daughter, who just turned two, is in the “I can do it by myself, Mommy!” stage. She wants to own and control the garden hose. Either one end of the garden will be flooded; or, everything but the garden will get wet (including me). She doesn’t understand that her over-committed mommy wants to go outside, get the watering done, and move on to the next thing on her never ending to-do list.

I preach the benefits of kids gardening, yet here I sit all frustrated. In my heart, I know it is best to give in to her desire to be mommy’s helper. I must enjoy these little moments instead of stressing about my to-do list. After all, I know too-well that my children are growing up quickly.

In hopes of gaining a new perspective, I dried off and drafted a new list. “Life Lessons Taught to Mommy while Gardening with a Two-Year-Old.”

  1. Time passes fast; don’t be in a hurry…the plants aren’t!
  2. Worms can be a fascinating source of entertainment and hopefully not a source of protein. Ewww
  3. Don’t hand over an open packet of carrot seeds to anyone wearing diapers.
  4. There is no such thing as “child free dirt digging.”
  5. If they help grow it, they are likely to eat it, or at least try it.
  6. It’s fun to step back and be a child with my child.
  7. Sharing and working together (I’m still struggling with the whole garden hose thing).
  8. Nurturing a garden and nurturing a child go hand in hand.
  9. It’s okay to let go of “control.”
  10. The muddier we are the more fun we had.

As you consider the life-lessons you’ve learned through gardening, I hope this list inspires you to play, get dirty and allow yourself to get drenched with the water hose.