Superheroes also breed potty-mouths.
June 07, 2011

After years of not being a gardener – not even, in fact, taking the time to mow the lawn most weeks – it is a bit of a shock to me that this year gardening is our number one activity.  But there it is.

The coolest thing about all this gardening is watching Charlotte learn.  I have made a very focused effort to find poems, songs, stories, and fingerplays (we usually use Donald’s socks as fingerpuppets – a sock can be anything with a little imagination) centered around plants and growth.  And it’s working.

The best example of this occurred a few weeks ago when I brought Charlotte to a local children’s garden with edibles.  Just as we were coming upon the edibles from one direction, a preschool-aged child and their mother came upon them from another.  The kid bent down looking at the plants and then asked their mother what they were?  I don’t know, the mother said.

Oh, but my child knew.  COHN!, she yelped pointing at the corn.  BAYS!, she shrieked pointing at the berries.  GAPES!, she said pointing at the grapes.  She lead the kid around, pointing and exclaiming, and I was filled with an unbelievable sense of pride.

In other news, a sheepdog got into the garlic!  (A very cute sheepdog).

I have been recounting that story at every opportunity since it occurred.  Invariably the response is people rolling their eyes while they tell me my kid is brilliant, whatever.  And I know they’re exasperated because they just had to listen while I told them in twelve minutes what could have been said in six words (Charlotte knows what corn looks like!), but hello, have you not met me?  Of course my kid is brilliant.  I am a superhero.  Superheroes only breed geniuses.  This is a fact of the universe.

Anyway, it’s been my go-to gardening story.  Then last night, Donald and I were walking Charlotte around the garden.  We pointed out the various plants to her as we always do – the melons, the squash, the corn, the beans, and so on and so forth – and she parroted them back as she always does.  When we came up to the pumpkins, we noticed that our last pumpkin plant was gone.

As a bit of a backstory, we had four very beautiful pumpkin plants come in to knee-height or larger over the past month.  And then, each of them was destroyed by a gopher.

So we came up to the pumpkin area and noticed that our last large plant had also been taken down by a gopher.  Donald said, GOPHER!, in a loud and frustrated voice, and Charlotte, in true gardener fashion, said DAMN IT!

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  1. By Amber on June 07, 2011

    Bah-ha-ha! She IS brilliant :)

  2. By on June 07, 2011

    That is too funny!
    Brag about Charlotte all you want.  Too many kids nowadays don’t know what fruits and veggies are by looking at them all grown never mind in the growing stage.  I remember being shocked while watching Jamie Oliver’s school lunches show (pretty sure it was the one he did over in England) and how little the school age kids knew.
    And yes I realize you don’t own a TV, but I figure maybe you heard about it because his crusade in England and now in the US (the current show is in LA schools) is about making healthier foods for school kids.

  3. By on June 07, 2011

    That is hilarious! :) This morning I smacked the wall trying to kill a mosquito. Smacking walls is really not something I encourage my 18-month son to do, but within 30 seconds of me doing it, my son was smacking the walls and what could I do? :o)

  4. By Sarah on June 07, 2011


  5. By on June 07, 2011

    LOL - Jude is still a little rusty on what can and can not be eaten from time to time. He frequently takes handfuls of lettuce right from the garden and so the other day he was sitting in the grass trying to eat handfuls of grass. Then he took a cup of basil to a neighbor’s house and the kids there assumed they were just regular leaves and started pulling leaves off of their trees and giving them to Jude to eat… which he did. I keep reinforcing that he needs to ask mommy first… haha

  6. By christy on June 07, 2011

    best story EVER.  (the damn it part LOL).  but i love she is becoming quite the gardener!!!!

  7. By on June 07, 2011

    I dropped something the other day and said shit, and so my 17 month old son said it back. I really need to remember he is parroting words now. *sigh, there goes my cursing fun :P

  8. By on June 07, 2011

    Kyla - I heard about Jaimie Oliver’s thing on the radio (because it’s local), but I also receive his press releases.  I was kind of excited that he was tackling LA with the sugary milk thing =)

  9. By on June 07, 2011

    She’s so sweet. Sad (to me anyway) that she’s already heard that word enough in her young life to be using it…!?

  10. By on June 07, 2011

    Lynn - I can’t even blame it on anyone else.  Donald and I have been so annoyed watching gophers gobble up our gourds, our melons, our squash, one after the other.  We’re on round four and five with most of the sprouts, and every time it happens…apparently we swear?  As a whole, we’re not really worried about swearing - our families swear, we swear - and we tell her that those are words for home only, not for public, BUT we also try not to say them around her because there are other ways of expressing frustration that are less offensive to other people.  I think this one is a lesson to us that we aren’t trying hard enough.  She makes an instant connection between gophers and damn it.  We had no idea that we were doing it until she repeated it - but luckily she seems to think it only relates to gophers, not to frustration as a whole.  So hopefully as we improve further it’ll just wipe itself from her memory?  One can hope!

  11. By on June 08, 2011

    oh - and I’m so jealous of your garlic. I planted garlic last year, but never got it in until spring… so no success. This year I thought I’d skip it, but apparently there were still plenty of cloves left in the ground at the end of the summer last year so it sprouted again this year, but they don’t have enough space, so they’re choking each other out. Perhaps this summer I’ll successfully remove cloves, store until late Fall and replant for next year…. one can only hope.

  12. By Bethany on June 08, 2011

    I find the sheep dog with the potty mouth to be too stinken cute!! & in my opinion, sometimes certain circumstances warrent for a good “Damn it!“

  13. By on June 08, 2011


  14. By on June 08, 2011

    I love bragging! No, I love talking about all the cool things James does, but I wish people didn’t take it as “My kid is so smart, yours is dumb”. All kids develop more in one area than another. And for James, it’s language. And for a boy, that is A-W-E-S-O-M-E. At 18 months he was stringing 2 - 3 words together, saying 3 syllable words, etc. Craziness. And he understands a bit of sign language and french too.

    As for plants, sadly the bugs keep me out of the garden, and I haven’t been able to teach anything to James there. My goal this summer is to try (TRY) to teach him more about nature. Until then, he can continue to talk about trucks, and buses and tractors and scooters and bulldozers and diggers and cars….

  15. By on June 08, 2011

    Haha! That reminds me of a friend of mine’s kid… I can’t remember what she was saying this in response to but she goes “Oh damage!“ I got a good laugh out of that.

  16. By Dianna on June 08, 2011

    That is too cute!

  17. By Megan on June 08, 2011

    SHE IS SMART!!!!

  18. By on June 08, 2011

    Oh, Sarah, you really are the best mother. Our little ones really are such a good mirror, aren’t they!  When my boys were younger I “guess” I would grumble aloud while driving…especially about older drivers.  One day my son said to me “Mama..someday you will be an older person, too. Don’t be so mean to them.“ It was a good lesson. And now I AM the older person!! Out of the mouths of babes.

  19. By Alicia S. on June 09, 2011

    I for one hate that it’s become so taboo to brag about our children—at least without offsetting it by pointing out a few good reasons why we kind of suck as mothers. I agree with MC’s comment and I think you are Charlotte are both incredible.

    lol and “Oh Damage” is hilarious!

  20. By tara pollard pakosta on June 09, 2011

    charlotte is awesome!
    she’s such a smartie!

  21. By on June 15, 2011

    I love it!!  My son did the same thing the other day.  Not because there was a gopher, though.  He was playing with one of his toys and it must not have been doing what it was supposed to because I heard him say Damn it!!  I couldn’t help but laugh.  Damn it is usually my phrase of choice, but I know that he’s heard worse so I’m glad Damn it is what stuck with him.  Although, I if someone didn’t know he was talking about his fork they may think he’s saying something else…

  22. By Bee on October 17, 2011

    Your daughter is amazing and you are amazing, and I can only imagine your husband is also amazing.  Super hero family!  I agree with what some others have commented that you should brag all you want!  Not many adults know about fruits and vegetables, let alone little kids!

    I think it’s funny that gophers instigated the response of “damn it!“  I agree with what you said in response to Lynn.
    What a great little person Charlotte is!





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