Earth Day

earth day
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

At the grocery store they had a booth up with “Earth Day” information, coloring books, mouse pads about conserving water, and posters of Koko the gorilla with her kitten Smokey. Moomin declined the face painting. I explained what “pollution” is.

So I figured we’d buy a plant for Earth Day. “Flower, or vegetable?” “Flower, please.” “Which one do you want…” *15 minutes of consideration of all the different flowerpots* He chose a foxglove I think because the name was cool and it was, in the picture of what the flower will look like, the biggest one & showiest flower.

But then! Would he help me plant it? I persuaded him at length to do some digging. But he would not touch the dirt. “Look, Moomin… dirt is nice.” “No thank you… I don’t want to touch DIRT.” “It’s actually clean dirt. Not like mud. It’s not like touching poop or anything. Well, technically a lot of it is worm poop. It’s soft and crumbly, it smells nice, it’s good for plants and animals.” “WORM POOP! HAHAHAHA!”

I made him do it. What! No child of mine is going to be a snob about *touching dirt*. “Look… Dirt is one thing when it’s on your face and you want to look nice. But when you’re gardening you can admire the beautifulness of dirt.” (You will have to imagine the look he shot me – dire skepticism.)

Not that his face has ever been dirty in his entire life. He can eat a fudgsicle in 90 degree weather and come out pristine.

I don’t get it.

Anyway, I planted the foxglove and my summer squash and then tried to recover the situation. “How about, since I like dirt and you don’t, I do the digging part and you do the watering part.” This lit him up with happiness. He was scared to turn on the hose, but managed to do it. “You can turn it on higher, and the bucket will fill up faster.” “That’s okay mom, I don’t want it to fill up faster.” So I attempted zen patience as we watched drops of water ooze from the hose. A year later when the bucket was 1/8th full, he turned off the hose – bravely.

“Can we go inside now?”

I have a feeling I just perpetuated the sort of annoying grownup behavior that I had to endure all my childhood where Grownups suddenly get it into their heads that you read too much and they try to make you go out on the lawn and play catch because it’s healthy. I stayed outside in the sun, and Moomin read comic books for the rest of the afternoon.

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