Brown is the New Green

Posted: July 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: City Livin', Discoveries, Friends and Strangers, Misc Neuroses, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Parenting, Walking | 2 Comments »

My brown thumb is on display right now. Out in the open for all to see.

You see, I’ve got these tomato plants. And, I mean, I think the Presidential Victory Garden is charming and all. And I do my best to feign interest when my fervid gardener friends ramble on with glassy-eyed glee about their purple beans and pygmy harlequin kale. Good for them for getting into it. (And good for me when they share their spoils.)

But me personally? I’m not swept up in the whole ‘grow your own’ movement.

But my tomato plants came to me special—raised from seeds from my friend Jack, whose wife packed me off with them after a visit their house. It seemed silly to pass up the offer. Coming up with a reason to not take the plants would take energy. And I’ve always maintained a healthy level of apathy with all things garden-related.

I want to be clear and say right now they aren’t dead yet. But damn they are thirsty!

I mean, I put them on the wall along our front steps—right out there in plain view—with the express intention of seeing them as I pass by several times a day, and prompting my mind to ignite the thought I SHOULD WATER THEM.

So far though, it’s not worked.

In fact, like kindly folks who feed waifish wild cats, our gaybors occasionally water them for me. Sweet men just can’t bear to watch the things die.

But knowing others have had to pick up my slack hasn’t even helped. In fact, I’ve come to learn (and accept) that I contain a finite amount of nurturing. Some people might have a bottomless-coffee-cup supply of caregiving. But mine, well, it eventually just runs dry.

I’m keeping two human children alive, people! So sorry that I can’t also tend the tomaties.

Like the front-stoop plants, I’ve positioned Kate and Paige conspicuously inside the house so when I wake up I’m bound to notice them. After padding around scratching and stretching for a while, and making myself a big mug of tea, I eventually look down at them, see the word MILK I’ve written across their foreheads in black Sharpie and think, “Wait a minute here… They might want something to drink too!”

Getting them milk makes me think they may also want food, and before you know it I’ve even thought to dress them and point to where the toys are.

So far this system’s worked for me.

But really, I’m prouder of those two girls than I ever would be about growing even four tomatoes. They dazzle me daily, in an amount equal to if not more than they exhaust me. If I’m ever in some family-packed setting where another parent asks me “which ones are mine” I’m only too happy to pull out my laser pointer to proudly identify them. I spend whole days marveling in disbelief that they’re mine.

But on the flight back from New York, and the other day at our library, people’ve seen Paigey scooting on her bottom—still not walking, and doing her asymmetric upright hopalong-like crawling thing—and have looked up at me and asked, “How old is she?”

And it crushes me.

I’ve found I ALWAYS WANT TO LIE. I’m not proud of that, but I’d almost prefer they think of her as an overgrown 7-month-old with timely developmental milestones, than an 18-month toddler who, when they learn her age, I’m certain will look at her with pity. Will think, “That poor cute curly-haired girl has something wrong with her.”

It may be egocentric or petty or neurotic (or “D, all of the above”) for me to assume these random strangers are spending any time thinking about or judging my kid. But I fear that they are, and that they do.

It doesn’t seem realistic for me to ask these people to come home for dinner with us so they can bask in the amazing loving dumpling radiancy that is Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop. For even just a half hour. Just 15 minutes! Her bionic loveableness has nearly brought folks to tears in a five-minute grocery store line. If those people experienced a drop of her charm, they’d be binding their own kids’ legs to get ‘em to scoot just like her. It’d be the Parenting cover story!

If they just knew her they’d see that all that sweet loving juju she’s sending out is just short-circuiting her walking skills temporarily. She’ll be up and about soon enough. Then she’ll be wielding her pure love power on the move. And look out people, because IT WILL BE BIG.

I’ve no doubt there’s a remote mountaintop of hopped up Tibetans looking at a photo of Paige this very minute and Google-mapping their way to Rockridge to dub her the next child lama. She’s just that amazing.

Which is why it confuses and saddens me oh so very very much when someone looks at her, raises a mental eyebrow, and assumes something’s wrong.

Something most certainly is wrong with my tomato plants. I’ve made no attempts to hide that from peering neighbors and passersby. But see and think what you will, I’m 100% confident and here to tell you that my Miss Paige is perfect.


2 Comments on “Brown is the New Green”

  1. 1 becca said at 9:59 am on July 24th, 2009:

    I can’t wait to finally meet Ms Wiggle Pop. And when you are here, I won’t be able to serve you any home grown tomatoes either. I say we worry about that when we get these 6 into college. Until then, Whole Foods works for this girl…

  2. 2 Megan said at 6:36 pm on July 26th, 2009:

    Paige is Perfect!!!
    You notice that the only plants I am responsible for are the cactus on the porch and the plants inside the house. They are all very forgiving of my neglect. And I too am proud to say that my three children hardly ever wilt!

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