Brownie, Carrot – What’s the Difference?
I have made a number of questionable parenting decisions since I came into the Mommy role five years ago. Ideas are usually my problem. I get one, and move to action without giving any consideration to the outcome. I stop at, “Hey, I have a fun idea.”
But “fun” and “good” are rarely the same.
In general, I can safely say that this is a poor parenting trait.
In the end, I pay my dues. I stay up all night to fend off nightmares, I fork of a couple hundred bucks over to Amazon and I replace the bathroom tiles.
But it’s worse when my ideas are good, and they still go wrong.
I thought it would be a good idea to teach my son about gardening.
We started some little pots of basil and ginger. He took care of the indoor plants, I took care of the big garden outside.
He learned how to check to see if the needed to be watered, learned to nip the tops off the basil so it branched out, and fell in love with the whole process when he got to eat pesto out of basil he grew himself.
This was a great idea!
But then, Autumn came, and I stopped spending time outside.
I asked him last weekend if he had watered his plants, and he admitted that he hadn’t.
“I don’t need to, Mama. It’s Fall, time for them to die for the winter.”
And so I very explained that potted plants aren’t quite the same as the ones outside. That we care for them all year, and they can produce all year.
Then came Show and Tell. Or, more precisely, the night before Show and Tell.
“Mom, what should I talk about to Ms. Beck for Show and Tell tomorrow?”
“Well, bud, what do you have that makes you excited? Or proud? Pick one of those things.”
So the next half hour turned into a random litany of things. I couldn’t help it; I started to tune out.
“I could talk about my dog. ‘Cause not everyone has a dog like this.
Or my crystal. I could tell them it is my power crystal.
Maybe I should bring in my alligator head.
Or the shark tooth necklace that Meghan brought me.
Maybe just the dog.
But the alligator head is cool. I bet some people have never seen one of those.
OH! I know! Could I bring that sword to school?”
“What? No. No swords in school.”
“Fiiine. I’ll bring the alligator.”
“Ok, bud, I’ll get you a box for it.”
“Wait!! I know! I’ll talk about our pot plants!”
“Our pot plants.”
. . .
“What pot plants?”
“Our pot plants on the porch. You know, my basil and the ginger. Can I bring one?”
“Ohhh! You mean the potted plants. That’d be fine.”
“Good, can you pick a pot plant that I can take?”
“Sure, but bud, it’s not a pot plant. It’s a potted plant.”
“I can call it a pot plant, if I want.”
Q has been going through a little stage where being corrected infuriates him. He digs his heels in and says he can call something whatever he wants. To which I always have the same reply. No. You can’t. Not if you want anyone to understand you.
If we are home, I’ll offer him a brownie, then give him a carrot when he says yes. When he complains, I explain that is exactly why he has to call things by the right name.
But he’s stubborn. He’ll work what he said around through a string of majestic verbal acrobatics until, somehow, pickle really does mean horse. Sometimes they are stunning in their complexity. But he is adamant – he will justify his word choice rather than admit to being wrong.
Compared to the pickle and the horse, the potted plants were easy.
“Well. The plants grow in little pots. The outside plants grow in the garden. So the ones outside are garden plants, and the ones inside are pot plants. So it’s really ok if I call them pot plants.”
“No, you have to call them potted plants. Or just plants. Not pot plants.”
“I can call them pot plants if I want.”
“Because pot plants and potted plants are not the same thing.”
“But they are!”
“No, they’re not. Why don’t you just talk about your dog, instead?
Want a brownie?”
Do you garden? Enjoy your pot plants?