Manual Labor - Kid 101

Manual Labor

We’ve only been in our house for eight months, so there are a lot of projects to tackle indoors and out. Something that has been bugging the shit out of me was this corner flower bed at the entrance of our driveway. It looked like it was supposed to be something (it had a nice rock wall trim), but was really just a bunch of overgrown weeds and these weird wild onion things. My husband weed whacked it a couple of times, but it was still pissing me off.

I’ve discovered that I’m really quite good at weeding. And when I say weeding I mean completely tearing out flower beds and starting over. So last week, that is what I decided to do to said location.

I then posted pictures on social media to see if my friends with much greener thumbs than my own, had any suggestions for what the hell to do next. Shockingly, I received a ton of responses (you know you’re old when…).

My husband and I talked about it. I showed him fifty million pictures of flowers, plants, bushes and trees. He cares, but he doesn’t really care, so we didn’t get very far.

I then turned to Pinterest (dangerous, I know) and typed in “corner flowerbed”. Suddenly, all of these magical images of cute corner white picket fences showed up. “That’s it!”, I thought. You see, from the moment my husband and I saw our house we have been talking about putting a low fence at our tree line. So, when I ran this idea by my husband he said, “Order the fence.”

I was super excited…we had a plan! Needless to say, our kids weren’t nearly as thrilled.

Two days later, our fence arrived. I carefully took each piece out of the box and spread them out on a nice, clean surface per the instructions. Sadly, there were several broken pieces and even one missing (welcome to my life). However, the fence had excellent reviews and a lifetime warranty so I didn’t let it get me down. I contacted customer service and they shipped another one to be delivered the next day.

The second fence arrived. My husband put it together, while I instructed him on the exact location of its placement (he is a patient, patient man!). Finally, our kids were getting excited. We had a fence!

The next morning we woke up, I drew the curtain and said, “look at our cute fence!”. The boys agreed that it was cute (“yeah, yeah Mom, great”) and then ran downstairs in their typical baby elephant fashion. I fed them and then announced that I would be going outside to work on the flower bed.

They asked if they could help. (YAY!)  I told them to grab their work gloves, rakes and shovels and meet me in the front yard.

We moved rocks. We dug out more weeds. We raked the patch until it was level. Then I asked them to retrieve a few buckets of water (they LOVE playing with water outside and I rarely let them because I HATE paying for it, so they quickly obliged). They loaded up their wagon and wheeled several buckets of water to the end of the driveway. I let them spread grass seed (in the non-flower bed area) and take turns using the watering can.

It turns out that my kids are pretty good at manual labor. Who knew?!

But wait, it gets better.

After laying down the grass seed all I could think was that we better get some straw to cover it so that the birds don’t eat it all. But, I really hate taking my kids to the store (it’s rarely fun for anyone).

I came up with a plan. “Listen guys, we’re going to go pick up straw and look at a few other things. If you are patient and behave then we will go get ice cream because you were both such a big help today.”

They behaved in the store (hallelujah!) thanks to the GIANT car cart that they both sat in the entire time (small miracles, people). And so we went to the ice cream shop.

After getting their ice cream, they sat down on the ground because all of the benches were in the sun and my kids are super pale. A couple of older ladies were sitting close by and commented on how handsome my sons were and then how well behaved. I thanked them, but assured them that they are not always well behaved, but they are always well behaved for ice cream.

Overall we had an excellent day. No major fights, no major meltdowns. A project was completed and ice cream was had by all.

The moral of the story is: the key to good behavior is manual labor…and ice cream.


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