With school out, our childcare arrangements have gotten a bit more complicated. Sylvia is in daycare part-time to cover some of Michelle's work schedule, but alternating Fridays have left a gap this summer, with both Michelle and me working, but only one of two kids being looked after. The solution: those Fridays become take your daughter to work day. The first time we tried it I was quite apprehensive, but as we packed Rose's backpack with activities and snacks she said (with a huge smile), "this is just like going to school!" And so "Garden School" was born.
After a bit of helping (picking beans, pulling weeds, etc), she settles into her little chair and pulls out some puzzles or drawing materials from her bag. Then there's usually a break for a snack and some garden exploring (Are there any cherry tomatoes yet? How tall is the corn? What plant is that?), all while talking my ear off in classic Rose fashion.
It makes for a very slow day overall as I can't fully concentrate on my tasks and try my best to avoid trips back to the house or the barn (which would involve walking at Rose dawdle speed, the slowest walking know to humankind) , but they have been some of my most enjoyable times in the garden.
Rose has been my little garden buddy for years now, ever since I used to pop her in a sling and tend to the container garden on the back deck of our Toronto apartment. We would chat about the various plants I was watering and she would reach out and grab little snacks for herself like a bean or basil leaf.
Our work and childcare schedules feel like they're always in flux, as the kids grow older and Michelle and I adjust (and mostly increase) our respective work loads. I'm not sure if Garden School will be part of the plan next summer, as from a practical point of view Michelle working Fridays means I typically work one of the days of the weekend to make up the lost time, and that can be exhausting for both of us. Still, what started out as a inefficient, make-shift solution to a scheduling problem has become a lovely way to spend the day in my favorite place with one of my favorite people.