It’s so nice to see my children playing with dirt and plants and rocks and sticks. This what I wanted when I had children – to see them use their little imaginations and explore the world around them. No television for my kids. Nosiree. Let ‘em get their hands dirty.
I see my daughter hauling the new Britta pitcher from our kitchen to the front porch to make chocolate smoothies. She’s loading it up with dirt and rocks. Wait just a minute.
Then my son begins to yank off all the blooms from the plumeria with glee, just ripping and pulling and throwing them all around with wild abandon. One after another he yanks at them like he’s some sort of flower executioner. The louder I yell, the more he plucks.
“For the salad! It’s for the salad!” he screams. I can’t do anything about it now, their little heads lying on our front walk like corpses.
I turn around to see my daughter creating salsa with rosemary leaves and sticks, and she somehow weaseled her way past me into the kitchen again for the pottery barn dishes to use as place settings. How do they do all this so fast? Do they have superpowers?
“This has gone too far,” I say. I walk over to remove the plates and I hear my daughter yelling for her brother to stop. He has turned on the water hose and is spraying her down, trying to aim his hose into the pitcher she’s holding in her hands. By now my kids are sopping wet and dirty from head to toe and that t-shirt from Janie and Jack is now stained and beyond repair.
I force both of them to the porch and run inside to get the broom, but now that the smoothies are done they most certainly must be tested. Suddenly they are pouring the goopy mess into little cups, runny mud oozing over the sides and on our front porch to be dried into concrete. These are so chocolaty, they say. You simply must have one. I strip them both down and make them take baths before dinner.
After baths, they sit watching Arthur and I’m so thankful for television and quiet and warm bubble baths that make things right again.
It all sounded so good at the time.
A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.