Posts Tagged ‘dirt’

I’m Down with Dirt

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

I'm Down with DirtMy child eats dirt. She ate dirt today, in fact. When a baby does it, you get it; they’re exploring their world. When a 3-year-old eats dirt? You wonder if they have any taste buds at all. But, for all my lack of inclination to eat dirt myself, I’m totally ok with the fact that she has, from time to time.

Here’s why:

  1. Dirt is a rite of passage for kids. It’s fun to get dirty. It’s fun to bake mud pies, to dig for buried treasure, to drive trucks through the dirt, and to build sand castles. I also take a dirty kid as a sign that that child was fully invested in his or her play. They let their imagination take over and didn’t stop one moment to worry what mom might say about their clothes, or the fact that they may be earning a one-way ticket into the bath. They just played. They released endorphins, relaxed, and probably came in happy. (It’s a good idea to send your child out in play clothes, though. I’m about as big of a fan of getting a dirt stain out of good clothes as anyone else.)
  2. Dirt is also good for the immune system. I am 100 percent ok with contact with the public world. I’m probably the most unconcerned mother ever when using public toilets. Sure, I take the proper precautions. We wash hands, but not with antibacterial soap, just the regular stuff, but I don’t carry hand sanitizer and I pick toys up of the ground without thought. I’m trying to teach her about how germs spread and what she needs to do to stay healthy, but I also view getting dirty as one of those steps toward staying healthy. I’ve long embraced the idea that the more we come into contact with, germ-wise, the more our bodies are prepared to fight everything off. Science tends to support this deduction as well.
  3. Dirt is outside. If your child came home dirty, she was probably OUTSIDE. Outside, in nature. She was connecting with nature in some way. I personally feel that we’re losing our connection with nature and would like to inspire my daughter to appreciate what it is to connect with the earth, with the plants and trees and animals around her. So, we garden together. We go on hikes through drippy woods. We flip over rocks in search of roly poly bugs and we beachcomb for seashells. That also means I carry towels in the car to wipe off muddy shoes and often vacuum sand from the floor, but I’m ok with that.

So that’s why I’m down with dirt. What about you? Has your child tasted a mud pie or two?

Kate Cunha lives in the Pacific NW with her husband and their 3 year old daughter. She was a dirt loving, tree climbing kid who grew into a terrible gardener who loves nature.