But my babies loved playing outside, just like your modern babies. And now that the weather (at least, here in the UK) is cheering up, you too will be thinking about letting Baby out into the garden. So, here are some suggestions for ways in which Baby could a) learn valuable things about Nature and b) help you out with those pesky garden jobs, both at the same time!
1. Dealing with garden pests. How annoying it is for any gardener to find blackfly or bugs or little snails and caterpillars on those nice new spring leaves. But, with all your energies taken up with looking after Baby, and with eco-friendly methods in mind, which parent has time to pluck the pests off one by one?
There's a simple solution. Baby needs every chance to practise his fine motor skills. So, teaching him how to pick off little bugs from leaves will prove a really beneficial learning opportunity. It wouldn't be kind just to expect him to know what to do straight away, obviously. So you could practise indoors by getting him to pick fleas off your cat, or, if you don't have a cat, or inconveniently you have a flea-free one, extracting poppy seeds off the top of a bread roll will do just fine.
How, though, to make sure that those bugs are permanently dealt with and don't come back? Well, what about just cutting back on Baby's diet for a few days before going out into the garden, and then encouraging him to pop those pesky pests into his little mouth each time he finds one? They won't all taste wonderful, but then, you're trying to get Baby to eat cabbage and sprouts, are you not, and are blackfly really any worse from a baby's point of view? Babies should be encouraged to explore new tastes and textures, and here's yet another chance for him to do so.
While Baby is crawling round the garden, picking off the bugs, do make sure he's wearing thick padded trousers as you wouldn't want his tender little knees to get grazed.
2. Helping with the grass cutting. What a chore! Your lawn mower is one of those old fashioned ones which collects the grass cuttings at the back, but the collector thing is broken, and so all the cuttings just spray all over the garden while you're mowing. How irritating!
What a good thing that Baby has just learned to say Mama and Dadda and therefore has his mouth open a lot of the time. Talk about good timing!
While you're mowing the lawn, encourage Baby to crawl along behind you. He probably will anyway because he wants to be with you (how handy are attachment needs?) and the bigger your garden is, the more lawn you have to mow, and the more Baby will desire your company. Just keep saying, 'Go on, say Mama again!' and, as Baby obliges, mow a bit more. The grass cuttings should land in his open mouth and he can chew away on those to his heart's content, getting what should be a year's supply of vitamins, surely. This is actually great practice for those days when all you have to feed him with is leftover spinach, and there's always the added advantage that what arrives in his nappies can go straight onto the compost pile to mulch down with your apple peelings.
The other great thing about this is that, when Baby gets fed up with saying 'Mama' and 'Dadda' on demand, he will cry. Bingo! Wider mouth = faster lawn-mowing.
But please make sure you clean Baby's teeth well each evening after his grass-collecting duties. You don't want his winning smile to be marred by bits of green between his nice new gnashers, especially if Granny's coming round.
3. Digging over the soil. Such a back-breaking job when you have to do it from a few feet up with a spade. So, why not harness the fact that Baby is so much nearer the ground? The best way to go about this is, while Baby is napping, bury all his toys in the flowerbeds where you want the soil turned over. When he wakes up and wants his teddy/toy truck/bricks, lead him out into the garden. The secret is to have one of the more colourful toys poking up out of the soil. Baby will soon get the idea. It's best not to cut Baby's nails for a few weeks before doing this garden activity with him, because the longer they are, the more efficient will be the soil-turning.
Baby will love this new game and, when he's found all his toys, you can get the garden hose out and wash the bricks and trucks down while hosing down Baby at the same time before he gets back in the house onto your nice cream carpet. His shouts of delight as you turn the hose on him will make this a moment he will remember for ever.
Obviously, dry him down quickly so he doesn't get cold and you can't be accused of neglect.
|Baby had found fourteen thousand blackfly and was feeling rather full, but Mummy said he still had the|
geranium bed to do.
Of course, Baby could also help you do another essential garden job, which is testing out the barbecue to make sure it still works. I'll leave it to you to work out the best way to do this. All I'm saying is, your average barbecue skewer might not be sufficient for the task.