Yes, you read that correctly. I want my kids to eat dirt. Not only eat it, but roll in it, play in it, dig in it, discover everything about it. And not just dirt. How about grass, sticks, sand, rocks, and anything else they could possibly come across. When my husband and I were younger, that’s what we did. Our parents kicked us out of the house right after breakfast and we were expected to be outside until dinner time. We got dirty, played in the mud, ran around the neighborhood with all our hoodlum friends, and no one even blinked an eye when we came home covered in pine sap coated in gravel with bits of bird feathers sticking out. That’s how I grew up. And that is exactly how I want my kids to experiance their childhood. All the fun, all the mess, and less fuss about every germ and possible disease they could catch from this or that.
In the 29 years since I was running around making forts out of tree branches and playing house in the woods, the mentality that used to exist amongst parents changed. Now that I’m a parent myself, I see other parents constantly worried about what germs their little one will pick up whilst out at the grocery store or at the playground. Newsflash – my kid has sucked on those nasty plastic covered cart handles until they were sparkling clean and he has yet to come down with more than a runny nose. So unless you kid has some medically specific reason to avoid all possible cooties, I suggest you take a breath and let them have a little exposure.
And speaking of exposure…these are a few of the things (in no specific order) that my kid has managed to get into his mouth before I could intervene..
dog & cat food
the clippy end of a dog leash
the name tag on my dogs collar
all of which are presumably covered in every type of nasty, dirty guck. And none of which have seriously harmed my kid. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d never stand idle and watch my kids stick broken glass in their mouths without a serious lesson in “NO means NO”, but I do my very best to not tell them “NO” every other second. Especially when you are dealing with children nearing toddlerhood…you’ll drive yourself insane if you have to watch everything they touch, roll in, step in, or get anywhere near their mouth. You know that age old saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? I try and keep that mentality hovering around my periferal through these wonderful and few years between infant and teenager.