Toddlerhood is full of learning for both myself and for Odin. Out of all the learning we’ve been doing, patience is probably the one thing that’s been hardest for me. Patience must be hard for him too but I do think the being patient while he learns it can be so very difficult. Patience all around!! Working in the garden has been one of our most regular exercises in this. Harvesting is always the best part and sometimes little fingers can’t resist an early harvest! I feel myself repeating things about a million times (just a small estimation).
“No, Odin, don’t pick the green ones! We have to wait until they’re nice and red!”
“Oh! Odin! That’s not a weed! It was a carrot!!”
“Honey, that’s a garden bed! You can’t walk through it!”
“You can’t throw that at the bees!!! They aren’t going to throw it back!”
Life on Nantucket is relatively slow. We garden leisurely when we aren’t working and then we spend the rest of our time playing and exploring. Having a newly independent toddler around makes those things a little less relaxing, a lot less relaxing if I let it get to me. Teaching a child anything requires patience and persistence in my opinion and the garden seems to be the perfect location for it. We remind him that we treat the plants with gentleness and love. We have new chickens and this is especially trying for excited toddler fingers. Little chicks are wild and adorably small and Odin gets so excited when he visits them. Constant reminders of how we act towards other living creatures can be pretty exhausting but also very rewarding. As Odin grows older and more independent, this will become more challenging but I also think we will see the reflection of our teachings in his actions. He’s already learned about when to pick raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and tomatoes which is so much better than last year! Last year he ate so many unripe berries and made so many sour faces, but he’s learned since then.
Observation is another form of patience I try and teach Odin. Sitting still and silent for a little while is so difficult for his antsy toes but when he is having a rough time, I’ve noticed that this is the best way to calm him. We might sit and watch the shadows of the leaves on the ground as the wind blows or watch our cat as she sits in the high grass waiting for a bunny to poke it’s head through the garden fence. We watch the bees pollinate the flowers and count the eggs as we take them from the coop. We lay in the grass and count the clouds or hide from one another behind the trees.
He is growing surprisingly patient because of these garden moments and I am grateful. I thought about writing this post because one of the two very sad peach trees that Zak saved from a local farm grew a peach this year, and Odin wanted that peach more than he’s wanted anything in his entire life I’m sure. After a few failed distraction attempts, we brought out the hose for him to water the garden and he finally stopped pursuing the only peach. It was a bit of panic for a moment, but finding the right distraction eased us all. With toddlerhood, I feel like that’s the way most of the time, seeking out the right distraction. Just saying no is asking for problems!