By Thursday, I had already spent the previous days weeding, watering, and harvesting. So on this day, I figured I would stop by with my two children and spend a short time simply watering the garden. At first the kiddos were happy to help and made frequent stops at the hose to fill up their little plastic watering cans. But after a few minutes, the empty playground called to them and they left their watering cans for some exploration and imagination development.
I didn’t think anything about it. They were welcome to help when they wanted (which was often) and of course welcome to run off and just be kids. So I finished spraying down the other beds while occasionally glancing at my little munchkins playing in a corner of the yard. I thought it was nice that the two sisters were getting along so well. No whining, no bossing, just two buddies working together doing… something over by a fence.
Once I was finished with the last bed, I called for the girls to clean up their watering cans and get ready to go. Both ran from their fence and approached me while I was winding up the hose.
“Mom! Look what sister gave me!” Shouted the youngest (4) as she scampered across the yard with some found treasure clutched in one of her little hands.
“Yes! I recycled it by re-purposing it and making something new!” My 6 year-old’s voice was filled with pride while she shared her eco-friendly knowledge.
I finished rolling up the hose and turned to see this ‘treasure’ that was the result of their teamwork. My 4 year old was beaming with the gift from her older sister and still making her way towards me. At first I wasn’t sure what it was she was holding. It was stuffed with wood chips and I saw a yellow dandelion flower tied to the top. Then the realization hit me. I even gasped.
Dangling from my little child’s sweet and innocent hand was a large, purple, shiny condom.
My reaction was shock and anger, but the biggest feeling was disgust. I quickly snatched the ‘prettily decorated item’ from my child’s hand and hollered for both the girls to follow me to the nearest bathroom. (Hoping that they would be open seeing that school was out for the summer) My youngest immediately screamed at me.
“Gim me back my treshure!”
My oldest had caught up to us and joined in with her little sister, “MOM! Its not trash! I recycled it and made a fancy purse!”
Meanwhile I am trying to explain that it is junk and very yucky junk while wondering the school hallway looking for an unlocked bathroom with a purple decorated condom dangling from my hand. Visions of VD and germs swarmed in my head and I was in a panic to get their little hands clean ASAP.
Horrible thoughts flashed before me. What if they thought it was a balloon and tried to blow it up? So I asked the eldest if she or her sister tried to blow it up.
I finally reached the bathrooms and yep, the doors were locked. So I found the nearest dumpster and tossed the item in it.
Youngest renewed her screaming efforts, “YOU FREW AWAY MY TRESHURE!”
Eldest backed off and joined my defense. “It was yucky trash.”
Eventually I make it back to my minivan and snatched my purse from under the console. Fortunately I don’t go anywhere without goop. (a.k.a. Purelle)
I drowned both their hands and mine in the potent potion of germ fighting goodness, locked them in their car seats, (youngest still screaming) and called husband to tell him what had happened.
“OH YUCK! Gross!! That’s awful! Is that our 4yo screaming in the background?”
I sighed, “Yes.”
“Tell her I am going to Target to buy her a treat.”
Dad likes to use the ‘treat’ method to solve tears. (It turns out; he bought me a treat too. Chocolate covered macadamia nuts.)
Once I got home, I called my dad to tell him what happened and received a different response.
It took a few minutes for him to stop laughing.
So, I’ve added a new note in my gardening journal. “Always practice safe gardening.”