When we first started this garden, I was pregnant. When Z came, on many, many days, she liked it better outside.
She did not stop moving, and she was sensorily sensitive and easily overloaded. Interesting how those kids are so often the ones standing delightedly under the biggest drip at the park.
She was also very hungry, bursting metabolically, but also, again, sensitive to overwhelm. Dairy, processed food, sweets. Her skin told us, her poop, her sleep and tone. I was an equally sensitive mama, and felt better when I could tell she was calm in her gut.
I can't remember when she started showing interest in TV. It was much later than we started showing interest in having her watch TV, that's for sure. She needed a lot of interaction, but was also a shy kid. A strong leader with her intimates, she could withdraw very quickly under the glare of a stranger's focus.
The way I dealt, on so many days, with being at home so much, with Zelda and Lindy, and then with these two and Anastasia, was to get outside. We all delighted in it. It pulled us toward each other.
Zelda has grown up in this garden. I imagine that it is one of the parts of her life that is so close to her as to escape notice. She is a natural gatherer (as we all are, no?) and has the skills for long, patient looking. Sometimes she hoards, sometimes she eats as she goes. She has never stopped loving vegetables, or touching worms. She can scream along with her friends, but she keeps coming back to the open, comfortable baseline that she has always held in the out of doors.
These days, the rock box wine is made by her little sister, and Zelda is one of the mildly bored recipients, condescending to fake-drink and wildly complimenting the vintage. I was afraid that I would need to crack down on tree climbing this summer because the eight year olds are growing (much) faster than the dogwood. But she just didn't do it much. She doesn't fit in there the way she used to. The swings and drops are too small, and her feet bump.
They sit around, leaning on things, talking about who knows what. They do cartwheels and run routines on the swings. She will still occasionally make a fairy house. She can get most herbs for me now, knows their places and whether she needs scissors. When I can get her alone, she will help clear out the leaves and rotten apples to keep the spot off the trees. She helps thin the carrots, as the bunnies wait (as bunnies do) for the tops.