Monday, November 16, 2009

Down and Dirty

Our guest post today is by Stephanie who blogs at The Beautification Project and writes a feature for The Motherhood Muse literary magazine!

Small Boy squats down on the path, intrigued by something at his feet. He points to it first, like he always does; his inquisitive mind limited by his one-word vocabulary as he looks at me and asks, “DAT?” I bend down to get a look at what he sees, keeping one eye on his Big Sister, prancing several feet ahead under the dripping trees. We’ve happily taken advantage of the break in the steady rain we’ve had for days to venture out and get some fresh air.

(Let me rephrase that. With some gentle prodding on my part: “Quick! Get your shoes on! Let’s go! Now!” and some slight resistance on Big Sister’s part: “NOOOOO! I don’t WAAAAANNNT to go outside!!” and an emergency diaper change requiring the removal of all the layers I’d swaddled Small Boy in, we’d made it outside despite the sky’s threats to open once again.)

Back to Small Boy’s discovery, a small stick shivering in the ripples of a mud puddle. His little fingers reach out with a cautious aim.

“No touch,” I say out of habit. “Yucky.”

You see, I don’t particularly enjoy dirt. I’m a city girl by nurture, and though I now live in a community surrounded by mountains on one side and sea on the other, and though I love – LOVE – the smell of fresh air and the beauty of a natural setting, I don’t want any of the nature on me. And so, while I claim to know that kids are kids and they will – and should – get dirty, I don’t really want them to.

Fortunately, Small Boy chooses not to hear me and plunges his small hand into the depths of the puddle. He raises his hand in victory, the stick wrapped in his fist. He looks at me with a pure joy as the grimy water drips from his hand and he presents his treasure to me. “DAT?” he asks again.

He is so happy. As is Big Sister, skipping toward us on the path to see what he has unearthed. It is such a simple moment. One free of the burdens of plastic toys and commercialized cartoon characters, of planned activities and shuttling between errands. Free of expectations and of high standards. My baby found a stick in a puddle, and he’s happy.

It’s a moment for which it’s worth getting a little dirty.

About the Author:

Stephanie Dethlefs is a freelance writer and mom of two in the Pacific Northwest. Despite her aversion to dirt she loves the outdoors, and she and her husband plan to share with Big Sister and Small Boy the joys of camping, hiking, and a global appreciation of the natural world. A former teacher, Stephanie is the founder of the Young Writers Studio and blogs about creating a beautiful life at The Beautification Project


Ginny Marie said...

Those emergency diaper changes always happen just when I'm about to leave the house!

I love your description of your simple moment. It's those little moments that make life so sweet!

Julie said...

Great Stephanie! I love it. And thanks for posting on FB so I would know to look for your post today.

Jenni said...

I also have an immediate reaction when my kids start to really get "into" nature. Wait! Stop! And the same pleasure when I see them wrist-deep in mud pies or letting a worm crawl over their fingers. Thanks for a great post!

Anita said...

I love it when my kids "get out of the house" to enjoy "just being."

Joanna said...

I have never averse to dirt myself, but my kids and I still talk about the time Leah sat in dog poop at the park and somehow managed to spread it to the stroller and her one-and-a-half year old brother. The joys of the days with small children.