beware the gardening class teacher

Summertime is here, and while my two boys are in day camp more often than not, I’m taking my two-year-old daughter to whatever story hour or drop-in soccer class we can build a morning around. Yesterday, we attended our first gardening class at the local children’s museum, which advertised itself as right up Maggie’s alley:

Find out why seeds are sleeping and how we can wake them up to become plants and vegetables!

Awesome. Since I have the exact inverse of a green thumb, this would be educational for both of us.  We got there a few minutes early so I could spackle her with SPF 50 before we headed outside into the heat-index-of-102 morning.  (Yes, I’m still using the “bad” sunscreens, at least until they run out.) 

I knew we were in trouble as soon as the instructor joined us at the garden gate. “Brandon” was six foot three, bearded like Brad Pitt on vacation in Aix-en-Provence, and had dreadlocks down to his waist that were “dirty” blond in every sense of that word. 

Maggie and the other two-year-olds backed away from him, their mouths in wordless O’s of horror.

“Come, join me in my garden,” Brandon murmured.

Now, Brandon seemed like an awfully nice fellow, but really I think the children’s museum should have posted a disclaimer on their website, or at least on their front door: 

WARNING: Gardening instructor looks like this and your children will be horrified

Not only did Maggie refuse to touch the strawberry plants or the worms Brandon dug up, she refused to touch the ground at all, spending the entire class digging her fingernails into my T-shirt so I would not under any circumstances put her down, lest Brandon the Cyclops pick her up and devour her, bones and all. 

Brandon’s other shortcoming was a utter cluelessness as to the difference between a two-year-old and, say, a sixth grader. He asked lots of leading questions like this one:

BRANDON: What is broccoli?

The children stare.

BRANDON: Is it a root? Is it a bush?

Blank stares.

BRANDON: … it’s… “cruciferous,” isn’t it.


BRANDON: What do we call it when we add worms to dirt to break it down?

Blank stares.

BRANDON: … we call it “composting.” I’m sure you’ve heard that word.

The other moms and I exchanged a nervous glance. We wouldn’t have gotten that one, either.

Ever since yesterday, Maggie has been saying “I not going to gardening class” under her breath, a sort of “Expectus Patronum” against the evil she is certain awaits her next week at the children’s museum. Four-week class, prepaid. Again: awesome.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

just one foot July 10, 2010 at 3:31 am

This made me laugh. I can just see your not so great version of Brad Pitt, forever scarring your children and guaranteeing that none of them will ever eat another vegetable (or earth grown food item)again. Hey, digging in dirt is so….dirty.

It's time to move on to the class on blowing bubbles. Maybe the teacher will be a hip version of the good witch of the east, from the Wizard of Oz.

You can only hope. Otherwise it's going to be a long, long summer. đŸ™‚



Mary Pat July 12, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Hilarious! It's amazing how clueless people are as to what babies/toddlers are capable of. It kinda reminds me of how you'll order milk for the kids at a restaurant and the waiter will place a big uncovered cup of milk in front of your 13 month old. Or they'll ask if you want a children's menu for your 3 month old. But this gardening class takes the cake!

And Meghan does the EXACT same thing…she'll mutter to herself that she's not going to go somewhere or do something that she doesn't like as a way of reassuring herself…it cracks me up.


Liberty July 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Can totally empahtize.. took my toddlers on a nature hike one time and the guide was constantly asking what the names of obscure forest plants were. We did learn a lot, but the dude was completely unrealistic!


Amy Wilson July 13, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Class #2 is tomorrow. I'll let you all know how it goes, should I actually get her there.

Just One Fool, I blew off another cooking class. I'm almost afraid to see what that teacher will look like.

Mary Pat, you are so right about the restaurant thing! I am amazed by how unaware of kids so many grownups are. Even if you're not a parent, didn't you have a sibling? A cousin? A younger kid next door?

Liberty, you can quiz us all on those plants, maybe we can all learn something.


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