Isaiah is a worker. I mean he wants to be outside and moving logs or bricks with his bare hands; he wants to be pulling dandelions or building something. Or he wants to be helping someone with a job. Don't make him do this school stuff (it's boring.) and frankly I don't blame him - I would rather be outside than sitting down to do worksheets. But ya know, that's life. We don't always get to do what we want to do.
But now that spring is upon us we can get out some of those projects that we've been itching to do. (stay tuned, you are going to soon discover how that sentence is going to turn out to be very punny in just a few minutes.) Specifically, we are going to do the outside sciency stuff like gardening, composting, and chicken raising.
We started with the garden. Steven's dad built us some raised beds and over the last couple of days we've been getting them ready. Some dirt was hauled in, some manure was purchased, mix together and there you have it, a perfect bed for vegetables.
Isaiah had been spending a few days at his grandparents house so yesterday afternoon was the first opportunity we had to work on our garden. We are starting out small, I just want Isaiah to learn the basics of garden tending without getting overwhelmed. So we went to choose some starter plants from the store and we came up with tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, and bush green beans - all things that we eat regularly. (yes, I know, it's probably too early to put this stuff out as well, but oh well, we'll call it our science experiment)
We brought home the starter plants then Isaiah and I got to work. Isaiah took a ruler and marked the wooden sides of our garden beds by foot, he then went back and tacked in small nails at each mark he had made. I then went behind him and made our garden into a grid by stretching some string around the nails Isaiah had tacked into the sides of the bed. Now it was time to plant. I put Isaiah in charge of the beans, the broccoli and the peppers while I got to work on the tomatoes. Isaiah started with the beans, then planted a few of the broccoli plants and also planted one pepper plant we had bought as our experiment plant. It was called a Costa Rican sweet red pepper. We've not had one of those before. I finished off the tomatoes before Isaiah was finished with his plants, so I came along side him to help him finish up. He had not yet planted the bell peppers, so I did those.
By the time we were wrapping up Isaiah was complaining about his stomach hurting. It was later in the evening and we hadn't eaten since lunch time, so I mentioned that he was just probably hungry. I wasn't making a big deal about it, because Isaiah is pretty good at illness drama and will over-exaggerate the issue more often than not. It's best to act nonchalant until we know that there is really a cause for alarm.
It wasn't long before we had finished up the job and I asked Isaiah to help me with the trash and putting our things away. He kept holding his belly and was not in the mood to be helpful. I just chalked it up to hunger pangs and fussed at him to just get the stuff thrown away and then we could go inside and eat something. I left him to do the job and finished my tasks and went inside. I waited for Isaiah to come in. He took forever it seemed and I went to check on him and couldn't find him anywhere. I called for him (ok, I yelled) and found out that Steven had also given him a job to do on the other side of the house, but he was now done with both jobs and we were heading inside. Isaiah was getting more anxious about his hurting stomach though. I told him to calm down, it was supper time now and we'd get him something to eat quickly.
He wanted cereal. I fixed him a bowl and set it down in front of him and he barely touched it before he started to cry about his stomach. I told him to just go lay down for a bit, relax and see if it would pass. It had been a good 20 minutes since he had first complained about his stomach, but the laying down to help it pass idea only lasted for a few minutes before he had come into the kitchen totally frantic.
The boy looked like he had a sunburn. I pulled his shirt off of him, with some difficulty though, because he was covered with small welts that itched like crazy and he was flailing around trying to alleviate the misery. (He had been wearing long sleeves and long pants outside and I was right there with him and never got bothered by any bugs.) He was going crazy. I quickly grabbed the benedryl that was on the counter (Avery's been suffering this spring too so it was very handy) and gave him two chewable tablets. I then made him jump in the shower and washed him down really well. I checked him for a bite mark or a tick or anything of that nature and didn't see anything. Then I called my parents, cuz dad's a nurse and therefore the family medical go-to. We determined that he must have had a severe allergic reaction to something. But what??
By the end of the episode Isaiah had bright red skin, little tiny welts all over his torso and groin area (which I am now calling hives?), an itchy body - even his scalp itched. He was short of breath for a time, but I don't know if that had to do with him freaking out or the allergic reaction. His eyes were red and irritated and it looked like I had given him the benedryl just in time or they would have swelled up. As the night wore on, his stomach ache along with all of the crazy hives and itching and red skin had all cleared up.
This morning he's fine. So my question is what in the world caused all of this? Is he allergic to... gardening? Great, he'll do anything to get out of schoolwork. ;) Was it one of the plants? Was it the fertilizer in the starter plants' soil? Was is a bug bite? Was it a fluke? He helped his grandma in her garden this weekend and didn't have any problems... I don't know. It's a mysterious puzzle for sure. One that I hope we either solve or never have to mess with again.
I think Isaiah would just tell you he's allergic to schoolwork.