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Monday, January 24, 2011

Starting To Pick Up

Part of a parterre in an English garden. Photo...Image via WikipediaLast Saturday, around evening time, I went out with my third child to buy food for our dinner – my wife usually takes some time off on weekends – and she gets it without a fight.

For the past weeks, I’ve been doing some gardening, and without a piece of land to settle the plants in, we make do with pots. That is our life here: our abode is hanging in the air, suspended between levels and levels of flats above and below. Did I excite you momentarily? I was just saying that living in a foreign land and not having finances in excess will not allow you to enjoy the same benefits, or privileges, than when you are at your birth place. Yes, I am a foreigner in my present land of abode. I may convert into a citizen, but that doesn’t change my skin.

My daughters are usually coming out to see what I’m doing whenever I do my planting things. One time they were so curious as to see if other than plants, there are living creatures. And  they did. Millipedes. Earthworms. Ants. My third child was quite shaky getting near, but still, curious to see how an earthworm is in real life. The one I had in one of the pots was very small and short, and is almost invisible to the unobserving eye. You have to stare and search for it. And it seems it was a loner.

Anyway, the other 2 girls saw it, and they were discussing it. She didn’t, and she keeps on asking if I’ve touched it someway, somehow, etc., etc. So what I did is to look for the teeny-weeny earthworm, scooped it up with some soul, and then showed it once more to them. The crawler crawled a bit, then it landed on my palm where there is no soil, and she was like, “What? Didn’t bite you?” And I just showed to her that it is harmless. She’d grown up in a place where there isn’t anything much to offer when it comes to being dirty and soiled with naked earth. It is all concrete and asphalts, and the trees and plants are taken care of by paid workers. And if you don’t do these things at home in a miniature level, there’ll be no other place or other chance that your children will come face-to-face with such down-to-earth experiences, and their existence on this earth will have a missing part – that’s sad.

Now, I've been doing this planting and repotting chore for a number of times, and at times, one of them would come out alone, and would have a chance to do hands-on. Another time, it will be the other one. So to say, they are having their chance, each one of them.

I should say that their interest is gaining momentum.

Now, as said at the beginning, we went out, me and my third daughter, to buy food at the food hawker center for our dinner. Since there are some other items to buy, we went over to the variety store afterwards. Aside from grocery items and the usual prime commodities for sale, they have a limited collection of plants in small pots, along with a limited set of plastic pots, pot stands, garden soil, and some other gardening accessories. Whenever I pass by that shop, I’d take a look, at times, very short, at times, longer, scrutinizing what they have. They sell it cheap compared to the other shops nearby or within the larger vicinity. So that shop is a no-brainer choice – if they have what you are looking for, it’s a steal!

My daughter went with me when I went over to the stall where the plants are. She looked and checked, looked closer, left and right, then picked one small plant. She knows what we already have at home, and although those plants belong to the whole family, the decision on things like what gets thrown away (when the time comes to clear up) or what stays, what’s repotted, what’s pruned, etc., still rests on me and my wife, the father and the mother. So knowing that, she picked a plant of her liking, and said, “Can I buy my own plant?”

I was glad that she showed the interest, and I would be more than glad to guide her in her newfound passion, but I said, “Mama will scold you if you use your money and buy that plant.”

“But how come you can buy plants and she don’t get angry?”

I ignored that question, and continued to look at other plants, all the while trying and attempting to find some answers to throw back.

Since she didn’t insist on having an answer, I delayed a few more seconds, then I finally said, “That doesn’t look very nice. Let’s come back and see if there comes a better one next time.”

And with that we left. She didn’t complain, knowing that she can have her own plant, when the right time comes.

I mentioned this to my wife, to which she explained, that she had agreed with our kids, that whatever they save from their daily allowances, they can buy whatever they like.

So perhaps, to be true to my word, and to let my child be happy, we’ll come back next time to see what would be on sale.

Then we can do our gardening together.

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