How to do jobs in the garden

I have spent the last few weeks trying to drag the garden out of hibernation and get it ready for lots of playing for the long, warm summer days that we are going to have. (She says, fingers crossed!) I love gardening and being out in the garden, but the last few years I have either been pregnant (and feeling terribly sick.) With a newborn (so my mind was elsewhere.) Or moving house (so leaving one garden behind and inheriting an overgrown and unloved one.) This is the first year that I feel I am getting anywhere with it, and having an outdoor loving toddler is really helping.

It didn’t take me long, when I had Mabel, to figure out that the best and easiest way to get chores done around the house, when you have a toddler in tow, is to get them in on the act and have them help you. By giving them smaller tasks and getting them involved, you avoid the nightmare that is trying to keep them out of the task in hand.

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When I was jet washing the decking, Eric was out there with me, pottering around with his car and truck. I was going to get him to help, but I soon realised that was easier said than done in this case! This is the first year we have properly jet washed the decking (we should have done it last year. Oops!) I found it a very pleasing task as I blasted away a couple of years worth of dirt. As I was jetting away I had a light bulb moment that I could also jet wash all the outdoor toys, so I did! It was amazing, I highly recommend it! But as I was blasting away I suddenly thought that I bet Eric would love to give his car a good old bubble bath. So I waited for a sunny day (and waited, and waited, and waited. What is with the weather this month?!) And this morning I dashed out there, as the sun was shining. (There was a slight gale blowing too, but we just ignored that.)

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I armed him with a big car wash sponge, a brush that we have used previously and a big bucket of bubbly water. As it was quite chilly I made it nice and warm. It was then that I realised that we have never actually washed our car in his presence, so he probably won’t know what to do. I was wrong! He got stuck right in, giving it a scrub and slopping bubbles on all over. He carefully washed the steering wheel and he gave the wheels a real scrub.

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A fly landed on it at one point and he stopped and carefully studied it. I love how toddlers are so in awe of the world and all the small things that happen around them. You certainly lose that awe once you are an adult.

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Once he was done, he got straight back in it and sat in a big bubbly puddle of water! So off we went back inside for a dry off with one of his Hooded Owls, the car one of course! I knew that him getting wet and requiring a change of clothes was inevitable. Thinking about it, that seems to be inevitable every day at the moment. Part of the life of an enquiring toddler I guess.

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I also knew that as soon as Mabel got home from school and clocked what we had been up to, that she would want in on the act. Luckily the sun was out again, even if it was still blowing a gale. So we went out again and give it a second wash. I love seeing how they interpret things in different ways, given their age gap. Obviously Mabel can tell me what she is doing, which she does, with a constant running commentary! She soon whipped Eric into shape. She was running the car wash, he was just a meagre employee being bossed about. Poor chap!

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