“eww” comes a loud sound.
I go rushing towards that noise to see my toddler holding his hands up high as if they are disposable, and can be replaced with clean extremities.
“What happened?” I asked meekly
“They are dirty!”
“Oh that’s okay”
“I will bathe you once we get home. Go play” as I nudge his back indicating to go to the play structure.
“No, I wanna go home now” he wails
“It’s okay, see mommy’s hands too dirty” as I push my hands in the sand
His continuous eerie sounds compelled me to go to near water fountain and wash him off, while I wondered what and where did I go wrong?
Sure, washing and sanitizing is essential prior to eating, and I had been particular about that since he was an infant, but then to become so eww about dirt gave an alarming signal to my parenting skills. Everything that had mud or soil or muck to it was considered dirty and with that came the refusal to touch it or play with it.
There was a time when I had a tough time explaining why we need to wash our hands, and when are the best times to wash that dirt off. I must admit, it took a lot of patience and reminders from my end, to get it into his system and program it well. But, alas to avoid dirt getting into the crevices of our nails and toes has been programmed wrong, and always wondered how this bug got into the system?
In order to override the dirt bug, we as parents took the dirty word on an adventure. Camping we will go was decided upon, and for starters we pitched a tent in our back yard. Tent was set up; a small fire was started in the fire pit with toasting of the marshmallows, and eating with our hands. Torches were used to go about in a tent and the dark.
At first he was thrilled with the change of ambience, but when it was time to sleep, the noise of the crickets and frogs initially made him widen his eyes wide to the max. But eventually, that turned into a lullaby and in no time he was snoozed off. Baby steps enabled us to take a trip to the woods for a camping trip. The touch of wood sticks, pebbles, sand was termed as an adventure and eating while dirtying your clothes in such an atmosphere was termed as fun. Sure there were a few frowns in the beginning, but then when he saw a consistent smile on our faces, he was quick to translate it as entertaining too.
My 2 cents
To be able to enjoy, Mother Nature is the best gift to treasure innocence and it serves as a stress buster.
Teaching a child to have fun while growing up is essential, and as parents we have to draw a line defining dirty versus filthy and manners versus crudeness so that a child grows up to live a civilized life amongst his brethren’s.
Thus, the next time your child is outdoors and gives out an “eww” sound define him what dirty means, and indulge with him so that he can enjoy the disheveled look with a smile.