Inspired by an entry in a mom blog and in the spirit of trying to amuse my brood, I recently bought about five pounds of bulk split peas and poured them into our empty water table, tossed in several "treasures" to hunt for (silver dollars, a barbie shoe, a plastic monkey) and let'em loose. The rules were: The peas stay IN the table and you have to wear shoes. (The pain of a few wayward peas imprinted into the soles of your feet? Not pretty).
Jooge went to it like a good t.v. show. Avery loved to pull up her little plastic chair and run her fingers through the green. All was well, and the magnetic attraction was quite pleasing to witness.
And then, let's just say it went bad. I had placed the table outside so the expected spillage could be swept up and returned to the table, but it seemed that despite my mini freak-outs more and more of the peas were escaping their home. I was doing a lot more pea-control than play-observance, and it was making me crazy. It became fun for them to pick up hand fulls and toss them.
When Jooge dumped the whole table over I came face to face with the nightmare of my own creation. Our backyard is paved in cobblestone-like bricks and this darling deed of hers meant that I got to spend a good amount of time sweeping up the little bastards. You'd have thought that after they were all tucked back into their table and rushed off to the safety of the garage, (all the while smacking at my children's hands and yelling, "BACK!" as I whisked them away,) that my work was done. Of course it wasn't. There were still millions of them wedged in the cracks emitting sinister titters. Not wanting to touch that tedium with a ten foot pole I left the peas for the night.
And then it rained. And the rain highlighted each and every one of the million evil domes littering our backyard. Also, it had the effect that any moisture might on a dried seed, it served to help them enlarge and begin to germinate and now we were destined to cover our cobble with unintentionally planted pea plants.
I stood for a half hour this evening hosing the peas off and away. In. The. Rain. It didn't really solve the problem. Now they've just been relocated to soil. Soil that will accept their tiny roots. Soil that will say, "Come peas. Stay while."
After my hose-job this evening I came in and fully admitted to my husband, who stood and shook his head as he watched me hosing, that I had earned major idiot points the minute I placed those FREAKING legumes in my shopping cart. No, wait, back up, the second I read the blog that inspired me and made me think, "That sounds fun." (Might I add that this wise mommy kept her BEANS indoors and only has one kid who doesn't have a big sister to negatively maniuplate the plaything).
While you and yours are enjoying a popsicle this summer, think of us plucking pea plants from every non-paved orifice know to our backyard until our thumbs are raw. I will try with one more round of "pea wrastling." Maybe run a rake over the top layer of pea infested bark dust then toss it away. It's all enough to make our tiny backyard seem suddenly gargantuan and unkind. And I will never look at peas the same again.