Tuesday, July 19, 2011
jack and the magic toadstool
My grandson Jack is no exception.
We have had lots of rain. Lots. Almost every day we have had a thunderstorm. This has been one of the rainiest summers I can remember. All this rain brought a surprise the other day.
There, in the middle of my front yard, was a crop of toadstools. As adults, we know they are poisonous. At least I think they are. (It was what I was told as a child. I guess mom thought I might eat one.) So imagine our horror when Jack came into the house the other morning with one of the biggest toadstools I have ever seen in his hands. I heard Steve holler at him first: "put that down it's POISONOUS!" Steve wasn't hollering because he was angry. That is just his normal tone of voice. (His hearing isn't what it used to be so hollering back and forth when we talk is normal around here.)
I walked into the living room and Jack lifted his prize up to my face. "Look what I found Grammy!"
I recoiled in horror, grabbed it from him and threw it in the garbage as I explained how POISONOUS a toadstool was. Then I told him to go wash his hands.
After I threw it away, the guilt set in. Jack was trying to show us his discovery, and Steve and I reacted like grandparents. I had just effectively squashed the learning process. How could I fix this?
Then I had an idea. I grabbed Big Girl and Jack and I went out in the front yard. I took photos of the toadstools, and of Jack with them. And as I shot, I explained about them, how they come out only when there are certain conditions, like lots of rain and less sun. Then Jack dropped the bombshell.
"We got to go get that one you threw away and put him back with his family Grammy."
I was looking at toadstools. And Jack was seeing what I was telling him with a child's eye and mind. He saw that gathering in the yard as a family that had come to visit.
So I explained to Jack that once you pull one up, you can't put it back. He listened quietly as I explained. And didn't say anything.
I think we both learned some important life lessons today. And we taught each other.
Life. Death. And magic toadstools.