Gardens aren’t for pansies.

Each year I look forward to spring so I can try my hand at screwing up another garden. Experts say that gardening can relieve stress and help us feel more productive. All it does for me is keep the children outside longer so they aren’t creating more clutter.

If awards were handed out for effort, I might earn a trophy. Or perhaps I could win for being the pathetic sap who keeps on trying. Despite my valiant efforts in horticulture, nothing ever seems to take root… except my disappointment.

I’m not new to gardening attempts. I’ve been steadily failing at this for years. If Post-Apocalyptic Gardening ever becomes my family’s sole chance of survival, we will all be knee deep in troubled waters.

I’ve been accused of various things in my life, but having a “green thumb” isn’t one of them. Nah. I have lethal Thumbs of Death.

Just so nobody can accuse me of being a quitter, every winter I pour over gardening websites and Youtube videos trying to unlock the secrets to victorious vegetable growing, all to no avail. Nothing can hold me back and I still try my Death Thumbs at gardening, again and again. This form of persistence is either very noble, or incredibly stupid based on the consistent end results of my craptastic “we-will-starve-to-death-in-the-apocalypse” garden.

This year we’ve gone a bit further and the kids have gotten involved too. “I’m going to water the plants,” they yell and off they trek to dump a gallon of muddy water on a single pepper shoot while neglecting eight other plants entirely.

None of my efforts have been successful and the kids are losing patience.

“Why can’t we eat this now?” the kids will ask as soon as they see a cherry tomato the size of a pea. “Why is this taking soooo long? Where are all the strawberries you said would grow?” These perfectly valid questions are followed by exasperated whining. “Why did we even start this garden if it doesn’t actually make any FOOD?” 

Why indeed.

By all means, I should have all of this plant-growing-stuff figured out by now. One by one, I’ve procured crucial gardening essentials: hoses, watering cans, gloves, raised beds, rakes, shovels, compost, mulch, horse manure, horseradish, horseshoes, and a charley horse. I have acquired everything except actual talent, which is apparently one more thing I can’t grow.

One year I was able to raise a billion and a half tomatoes. They never turned red. Another year powdery mildew rotted out all my zucchini and squash plants. Abusive squirrels and fat gluttonous insects chomped and burped as they devoured the tender leaves of my kale and lettuce starts. My seedlings fast became fodder for ravenous crows and demon-possessed chipmunks. I sighed and muttered “Maybe next year.” 

And here we are again.

Day after day, I have watered and tended my little sprouts while all of nature has perched on nearby tree branches, sniggering and sneering at my fruitless efforts. Furry woodland creatures have laughed and hurled out taunting animal swears. Snails have been throwing keggers and fraternity hazings on my raised beds.

In exasperation and anger, I plucked several snails off my dead leaves and squashed them under my feet. “Noooooo” the kids cried, “Mom just killed TURBO! She squashed TURBO! ” This was followed by shrieks, wails and catastrophic sobbing from my preschool crowd.

Look, Skippy, your slimy “friend” is the reason we won’t have food if zombies come.

The gardening efforts for this season are already forecasted as a total FAIL. At this point, all I can do is hope my children learn something from watching my repeated efforts. Perhaps they can learn perseverance. Perhaps they can learn patience. Or maybe all they’ll learn is that the definition of “insanity” means doing something over and over and expecting a different result.

You’re welcome to join us for dinner, but don’t expect lovely home-grown vegetables to grace the table around here.

All we can grow is clutter.

Storm clouds are female.

Nothing is fair when you’re seven and everyone else has things better than you. At least, that’s what our resident 7 year old [Spunky] would claim is true. I don’t know at what point her life became so unbearable, but somewhere along the line, life yanked her pig-tails, kicked her shins and swiped her cookies.

It isn’t uncommon to witness her sporadic crying. Her eyes will be red and swollen and her face will get scrunched up like a withering fig. Strong emotions have siezed her petite body and are now present at every part of our lives. One moment she may be happily playing with Legos or Barbies and at the very next interaction with a sibling, she comes nearly unglued.

“Nobody (hiccup) is giving me any love todaaay,” she sobs. In a torrent of misery, tears slide down her cheeks in a mix of dirt and dejection.

Life is filled with all sorts of injustice when you’re seven.
Being seven is just…the worst.

Most often, strong emotions come flooding into Spunky’s tiny frame when accompanied by what she considers to be Bad News. In Spunky’s world, “Bad News” would include things like bedtime, mustard, a lost puzzle piece, or Huevos Rancheros.

Without warning, we can be subjected to the doleful sounds of crying and high-pitched sniveling. “Nobody will play with me,” her sad voice says frequently. Or at other times, “Somebody put mustard on my sandwich ON PURPOSE. Everyone KNOWS I hate mustard.” This is followed by quivering lip-whimpers as her hot tears trickle down to her folded arms.

I may not claim to know much about parenting, but I do know this: after a girl turns five, her body is hijacked by an emotional rollercoaster that she will keep riding for the rest of her life. Forever. The End.

In contrast to the extreme emotional “lows” that come with the travesty of being served a dinner of fried tortillas topped with meat and eggs, there’s a large amount of happy squealing that erupts from Spunky’s emotional volcano. The bountiful happy moments are filled with her giggling laughter; a melodious sound that flits across the room with fairies and silver bells.

The next moment is filled with weeping because it’s time to brush her hair.

Being a woman myself, I should be somewhat used to weathering the storms of emotional onslaught, but as far as I know, I have yet to cry over the wrong brand of peanut butter, or whether or not I can find my shoes. This week anyway.

Apparently having a large personality crammed into such a tiny body causes some leaks, and some of that feisty personality oozes out. Seven-year-old angst appears at very random moments.

Nearly every night we get to see some of that spirited persona as Spunky treks down to the living room long after bedtime and loudly announces that she’s most certainly not tired.

“Ooooh, You’re watching House Hunters? Why would you watch that without me?” She asks.

“We watch tv every night without you,” I say to her, “and it’s a tradition we believe in keeping. Back to bed.” 

Her eyes flit over to the bowl of “Chex Mix” Mr.Diaz and I are snacking on. Of course we wouldn’t dream of offering any to her because

1) after 8pm, I turn into the meanest mother alive and

2) Couch Eating in the dark of night without children is another tradition we believe in keeping.

“Don’t worry mom, I’m not hungry, so I won’t ask you for any,” she says while staring longingly at the bowl. This is followed by a demure and innocent smile.

“Ok good, because you can’t have any,” responds Mr. Diaz. “Back up to bed.” 

With a sigh of disappointment and a crestfallen face, poor Spunky slumps over and plods back up the stairs to her room and her unwanted mattress. Thump, thump, thump, her small feet slowly and loudly hit the stairs.

I can’t blame her for her reaction. When you’re seven, bedtime is the most undeserved penalty of all, especially when you’re denied a delicious and highly processed pretzel mix at 10pm.

Despite the blustering gales that blow the emotional pendulum from side to side, having Spunky around makes my life zesty. In fact, she’s my favorite. Without a fiery seven year old around, life would be rather boring.

Then the pitiful sounds of soft singing drift down the stairs, “I never get ANYTHING…” and her father and I exchange looks. It’s time to take cover.

A storm is brewing.

 

This post is also located at: http://www.momresource.com/mom-blogs-party-week-10/