On Monday I brought you a post about my parenting anxiety and how it takes a lot to get me to take Little Man to a public place now a days because of his love of getting dirty and my fear of other parents. Today however is a new day, and it is all about the million reasons why it is one hundred percent ok to let your kid run wild and play in the dirt.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a dirt loving person. My mom is constantly reminding me of how I wore rain boots to the beach up until age four because I just hated the feeling of sand on my feet, I absolutely do not like puddles, and really didn’t do much outdoorsy exploring as a kid because I had a huge fear of anything that flew. Big shout out to my best friend growing up and her amazing parents who took me to the zoo and butterfly garden, and managed to not kill me while I cried the entire time out of fear. The Burbank Parents are still my parenting icons to this day because they had so much patience for my irrational fears of everything, yet always included me in these activities. I honestly am so glad I had them as chaperones for school trips because I truly think anyone else would have probably left me to fend for myself, but these people were (and still are) amazing, but that’s a whole post of its own for another day.
I would like to say now that being in the Army and doing a fair share of sleeping outside has really toughened me up so to speak, but I still am not down with dirt on the civilian side of my life, which leads me to my next point.
My son adores being outside and covered in filth! If there is a puddle within a fifty foot radius of our front door and our car in the morning, you bet he’s in it before I can get him into his car seat. He loves rocks, and is now in the habit of taking one from my parents driveway every time we leave their house. Sticks are his best friend as long as he isn’t hitting with them, and we even had our first worm encounter the other day and he found it fascinating!
Last summer I vividly remember we took Little Dude out somewhere and he ran right into a huge mud puddle and I just looked at the sky and really wondered why the universe gave me a rough and tumble baby boy, but then as our summer progressed, it dawned on me that kids are truly awesome creatures, and maybe he wasn’t going to die from a little sand in his hair. Having a dirt loving child really changed my perception on play and parenting, understanding that as long as he is actively playing with something, it doesn’t always have to be structured and educational. Learning to love the fact we can just sit in our driveway and throw rocks into rain gutters all day and enjoy fresh air is something that I one hundred percent credit Little Dude for teaching me. As a parent in today’s generation I personally feel like I’m constantly trying to make sure we check all the boxes and do everything he needs to be happy, when really all he needs to be happy is lots of loving and some rocks.
So let them get dirty, let them play in the mud, it’s ok to go back to the way we used to play and let your kid roam the playground without hovering behind them. Let them explore the yard, play with the rocks, and never be afraid of a sandy tush because shower time is always a good way to end the day. So here’s to bringing it back to the days of dirty feet and messy hands and to the little boy who is teaching me the outdoors aren’t all that scary.