Monday, February 6, 2012

Eating Dirt

Last week Macie and I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and spent as much time outside as possible. When the temperature rises above 45 degrees in February in St. Louis, let alone the glorious and unexpected 60 degrees we experienced, you see a lot of pale, exposed skin as people rush outside to enjoy the weather while it lasts. In our celebration of the outdoors, Macie and I divided our time between the park, our yard, and walking along the neighborhood sidewalks. Other parents must have had the same idea, as there were plenty of children playing outside at the park and in our neighborhood. We even took a family trip to the St. Louis Zoo to wander the vast park and watch the animals sunbathe.

One of our trips to the park stands out in my memory, as it involved some very cute toddlers eating rocks. As mentioned in previous blogs, Macie LOVES the rock pit at the park. We usually spend a significant amount of time in this section, as Macie sorts, dumps, and shuffles the bacteria ridden, filthy rocks. Each time we leave this section Macie’s nails are lined with dirt, making me wish I could bathe her in antibacterial hand sanitizer….I just got a chill thinking about her disgusting nails. I digress.
Despite my loathing of these rocks, I hunkered down to play. Observing Macie filling my hands with rocks, two toddler boys decided to join us. They were apparently drawn to the novelty of a big person sitting in the rocks like a child and wanted to take part in this game. Suddenly I had three toddlers piling rocks into my hands, while I smiled and encouraged their game. This was much more entertaining to these little tykes than I thought possible.

While we played their mothers smiled and warned their children not to eat the rocks. Inwardly I scoffed, thinking that Macie would never eat rocks and that I was lucky not to have to deal with that….dirt under the nails is bad enough. Within a matter of minutes I witnessed one of the boys shove a whole handful of rocks into his mouth. I quickly notified his mother and she frantically scrapped the rocks out, scolded him, and steered him away from the rocks. Macie continued playing after this incident and I counted my blessings that Macie wasn’t inclined to put random things in her mouth.

After Macie’s nap we went back outside to play. After kicking and throwing her pink ball for a few minutes, Macie grew bored and wandered over to the flower bed. Unfortunately, my child always seems to gravitate to the dirt….she likes to get her hands dirty and explore her environment. As usual, Macie started digging in the dirt and mulch, inspecting each piece as if it was a unique specimen. I glanced at my phone for a moment and when I looked up Macie’s mouth was covered in dirt. Repulsed, I dropped my phone and ran to her, attempting to wipe away the dirt and grime. Macie wriggled and wormed her way out of my grip, annoyed that I was holding her up and unconcerned about the potential bacteria she had just ingested.

At that moment I realized that karma is vengeful. Guess what- my child eats dirt, too. That’s what I get for being smug and thinking my child was better when in reality she is just like every other dirt loving, exploratory toddler. Which is a good thing I guess- at least she is developmentally normal, right? 


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