Sound of little feet running across oak floors breaks me from morning task at hand. I look up. There he is. Son 2 in all his drooling, toddler glory. The exception this morning is the treasure he eagerly holds in open, stretched out hands. "Apple." (His word for all things produce.) I cringe. A beautiful, yet not ripe heirloom tomato. I want to attack with my words. To react with my emotions. I gather. I breathe in and out. (Smiling face looking on with wonder at why I am not giving him praise for his good, and generous, deed.) I gently lead Son 2 out the kitchen door and onto porch for age appropriate gardening lesson. Instructions given. Reinforcement given. Son 2 sheds tears of shame. I feel bad. How does one ensure fresh tomatoes and yet not stifle the heart of a child?
He returns to play. I return to morning task at hand.
My mind wanders. It was, after all, only a tomato. A simple vegetable. Something to nourish the body. Something organic. He is, after all, only 20 months. A child learning about the world around him. He was, in his mind, doing good. (The lesson at hand creeps to the front of my mind.) Accountability. Responsibility. Some big words for such a small boy. Mothering is a delicate balance of love and discipline. Of building character and creativity.