Why Garden Life With a Baby Is (Not) One Long Weekend
Recently I read a beautiful article by Sara Melissa Frost. In it, she described how her two sons enjoy gardening and planting vegetables. I wrote to her that there is a saying in German that children belong in the garden. This was the phrase our new landlord told us when we moved into our new bigger flat with a garden.
It’s great, he said, for children to be in the garden. It would help them thrive. Especially for a family, it’s like paradise. While the parents relax, the baby explores his/her surroundings. The little boy who lived in the house before said ‘garden’ as his first word because he loved being there so much. Would one of our little boy’s first words also be ‘garden’, we wondered?
Maybe we will meet a ‘bunny’ in the garden?
Two months ago, we had this conversation. Our little one is currently saying ‘bunny’, which is the first word he can say next to ‘Mommy’ and ‘Dada’. Unfortunately, this is not because he has ever stroked a rabbit or even seen one live (which would have been quite possible in pre-pandemic times) but because I have read a German book about a teddy and his cuddle bunny to him every morning since birth.
But ‘bunny’ is also a nice word. Maybe we will meet one in the garden one day (even if the probability is low, but one can still dream). Let’s see, I thought, so off we went into the garden.
Why we often have to cancel a long-planned trip to the garden
In contrast to Sara’s article (check it out below), in which she describes that her sons are already older, our little man is still a baby.
For reference, it’s important to know that we live on the second floor and the garden is on the ground floor. We can reach it via a staircase. All parents know that mastering two floors with a baby or even leaving the flat is an adventure that doesn’t happen every day.
So the garden always calls to us when we look out of the window, but we are rarely downstairs. Why is that? For one thing, it’s due to our daily rhythm with the baby. There are now fixed sleeping and eating times, which we try to keep to as best we can. But often it doesn’t work out, and we have to cancel a long-planned trip to the garden because our baby hasn’t slept yet / is having a tantrum / has just wet his nappy… take your pick from wild family life.
Sometimes, by the time we get out, the weather has changed. Instead of sunshine, it’s pouring with rain. Or the other way round. The wardrobe has to be changed, so back we go and along the way, we think of various things that need to be done in the flat.
But if we do manage to get down there with baby in our arms, we also have to bring with us various utensils that we might need, for example:
- an extra jacket, in case it’s too fresh even though the sun is blazing
- an extra blanket, for if the sun goes in
- water and some fruit for the 5 to 15 minutes we spend in the garden on average, because obviously the baby could starve or die of thirst in that time
- mobile phone to take photos and share the wonderful moment in the green with the grandparents
- folding chairs and a parasol with UV protection
- favourite toys of the moment
- a big picnic blanket
‘Life Is One Long Weekend’ — Why don’t we do this more often?
Fully packed, we walk down the stairs into the garden. Like paradise, we think. The folding chairs are unfolded. The parasol is put up. The big colourful picnic blanket is spread out on the lawn. The baby is placed on it.
We breathe a sigh of relief. Paradise, we think. How beautiful it is in the garden. Why don’t we do this more often?
We imagine we can hear the birds chirping just for us. The leaves rustle in the wind. The sun is shining. Only a few fair weather clouds can be seen in the bright blue sky.
I discover that my husband has also brought a thermos flask under his arm. ‘With coffee’, he remarks. Paradise, we think! Sitting in a folding chair, my husband happily announces that we will stay in the garden until he has finished his coffee.
The Tommy Bahama folding chair from Hawaii appropriately reads: ‘Life Is One Long Weekend’, which preaches the message to relax, have fun, and enjoy life to the fullest. It is the definitive guide to enjoying paradise — everywhere. Paradise!
One minute later, paradise in the garden already looks different
One minute later, paradise in the garden already looks different: Our baby has knocked over the parasol. It no longer provides shade. The thermos has rolled under a bush, as our little one had been playing wildly with it. When my husband wanted to take a sip of the coffee he started screaming loudly because he wanted the thermos back.
The sticky banana has been spread across the blanket. The spill-proof cup has been gnawed on until the water has also spilled on the blanket.
My husband is still sitting on his Tommy Bahama chair. But instead of grinning happily, he frowning and scowling at the thermos under the bush.
And me? Our baby quickly made it clear to me that he wanted to sit on the folding chair. So I made do with the blanket, on which he then also wanted to sit and, as described above, ate the banana and drank water.
I had imagined this excursion differently
It was supposed to be an escape from the daily routine of mother-load. An excursion into the garden paradise on our doorstep.
And our baby? He’s now sitting on the Tommy Bahama chair with sticky fingers, a top covered with smeared banana, clapping his hands happily.
I look from his sticky hands, which he holds out to me, back to the Tommy Bahama slogan and realize, it’s true.
Our baby is indeed making his life a long weekend and learning to relax, have fun, and enjoy life to the fullest.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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The post Why Garden Life With a Baby Is (Not) One Long Weekend appeared first on The Good Men Project.