Grow-op, grow up

Honestly, I stare at these things the way I used to stare at a couple of babies as they slept — sneaking back for just one more peek, scanning them for each new development; each unfolding, each unfurling. It’s addictively satisfying (or is that an oxymoron?), all that potential.

Rowan stares at them, too — his “beautiful seeds.” He pushed for flowers, lots of flowers, over vegetables, and now is the proud papa of an egg carton or two of giant sunflowers, pansies, and delphiniums. Me, I’m all about the beets, bats about the beets, nuts with the beets — you get the idea. Rachel seems to have a soft spot for the peas and beans. The plan is to raise property values by turning our front yard into a series of 16-square-foot, raised vegetable beds — square-foot gardening to replace our sea of anthills and dandelions. (Although, after reading this, I’ve been inspired to gather dandelion greens.)

I stare at the seeds the way someone else very little stares at his new lava lamp. Which is to say, adoringly and obsessively. Yes, of course it makes perfect sense for a nearly three-year-old to have a lava lamp: what could possibly be inappropriate about a toy that heats up to skin-burning temperatures, is made of glass, and filled with liquid? Still, he fell in love with it at a penny auction, and then won it, and now we turn it on at bedtime and at nap time, and he lies there, basking happily in its red glow, until he falls asleep.

And then I sneak into his bedroom and turn it off, but not before staring at him in his dinosaur pajamas for a few minutes, his thumb halfway out of his mouth, various bears scattered around the bed.

Far out.