There are some parenting moments that have been a long time coming and absolutely worth the wait: the first time my girls wandered into my bedroom together to say 'good morning'; Lucy and Nell playing quietly together with their toy animals; Lucy spontaneously kissing Nell as they hung over the sofa watching Charlie and Lola. The other day I had another big one: planning a garden with my girls.
Figuring out the backyard is getting to be a priority. The privacy went when we cut down the huge trees that destabilised our foundations. The lawn went with the coming of the dogs. The plantings are pretty shabby after drought. And there's more blackberry than you might at first think. When I look out the window my heart sinks at the ugliness of it all. The girls have dubbed a section of the yard 'the tar pit' and it's well named. It's to act.
I've been avoiding the issue. I stick things into the ground so that I can eat or pick them later on but I can't visual things in 3D, or 2D for that matter, and I've got no real sense of how plants will look together, or what will thrive where. So pulling together a space the size of an average suburban yard is daunting. But Lucy is keen. She has the colours chosen: pink, yellow and blue. She's figured out the plantings: sunflowers, geraniums, and daisies. And she's designed the new beds around the cubby house. Nell agrees with it all ('What do you think, Nellie?'; 'Desth'). The absolute confidence and arrogance of a three year, so often the source of my internal screams and gritted teeth ('No Mummy, that's not a P it's a D and it says ssssss'), comes into its own in this scenario. I'm really quite excited.
And if it all looks hellish and nothing works, I'll just blame the kid.