I Love Dirty Kids

Posted by on March 21, 2012

It’s the most absurd thing – this hot, beautiful weather in upstate New York.

It’s been such a delight being about to walk through our woods and explore the world waking up around us, weeks and weeks earlier than ever before.

And setting up the sprinkler for the girls to pirouette through in mid-March? Unreal.

My cabin fever has gracefully disappeared, replaced by the cheery budding beauty of new life all around us.

OK, maybe I do actually like Spring here.

“Remember, it’s a fluke,” Randi laughed as we compared temperatures between Myrtle Beach and upstate New York. It was going to be 77 here. Seventy-four in Myrtle Beach. And in the 80’s for the next few days. Randi was going to go spend yet another day playing golf and then practicing softball for the upcoming season for a local business’ team. And then shopping for a gown for yet another fund raiser.

Daughter #2 Cooling Off in March Heat

I can not believe I am actually unpacking some boxes of summer things I had already packed away for our move to either Myrtle Beach, or back to the Cape. Squirt guns and bags of leftover water balloons from last summer are everywhere, as are the cute footsteps zig-zagging through my home in a dotted-line pattern. Piles of muddy and grass-stained clothes are collecting on any horizontal pieces of furniture, and happy, exhausted little girls sprawl everywhere. And I am LOVING every second of it. This is definitely proof-positive that I am in NO way going to miss winter at all!

When I was about three or four years old – my mom left me with an aunt while she went to do some shopping. While she was gone, I played with her neighbor’s daughter, who was the accomplice to just about all my adventures whenever I visited my aunt. I remember clearly how we were playing restaurant in the sunny warmth of the summer day – making dandelion-sprinkled mud-cakes for the fairies who lived beneath the enormous pine tree in my aunt’s yard.

The dandelion could only be used if it passed the “magic butter test”. That’s where you hold the fluffy yellow flower beneath your friend’s chin. If the yellow is reflected under the chin, it passes. It is definately made of “real butter” and the fairies will eat it. If not, it has to be rejected. When the cakes were ready, we delicately picked up all the cakes and crawled on our tummies to deliver the treats to our magical friends.

My aunt and my friend’s mother chatted while we played, talking about soap operas and the price of groceries and gasoline. They laughed and gossiped, their hands moving gracefully through the air as they expressed themselves in gestures as well as in words, trying to bridge the Greek – Latvian language barrier easier.

The more they chatted, the more mudpies we made. The fairies loved our cakes, and requested more because they invited all the ladybugs and caterpillars to come to tea.

And the more mudpies we made, the dirtier the pretty white dress with tiny flowers in various shades of pink my mom put on me became. And the dirtier my dress was, the harder I strained to wipe away all the clumps and splatters of mud. With mud-encrusted hands.

Finally, my aunt looked at her watched and said good-bye to her friend and turned her attention to me. And I saw the look of horror on her face.

“Your mother is going to be so mad at you,” she whispered in a horrified voice after my friend and her mom disappeared into their house, although I didn’t know why she’d be mad. Mom never got mad me.

“Look what you did to your dress!” she was starting to panic. She kept staring at her watch as she tried to scrape off at least one layer of dirt. I knew my mom had arrived because my aunt suddenly froze and her expression kept switching from a nervous smile to a deep frown.

Mom never said a word while we were there. And on the way home, I asked her if she was mad at me. She asked about what, and I pointed to my dress. “Aunt Nina said you’d be mad at me.”

“Did you have fun?”

I was kind of nervous – my aunt did say my mom was going to be mad. And she was an adult, so she would know better than I would. “We played restaurant and fairies came and they loved our food and then they had a party…” I told her all about the hose and using pine needles and acorns and sticks. And the dandelions.

And no. She was not mad in the least. She told me that’s why God had invented washing machines. And that I really should have more polite when we left…and given my aunt a great, big hug.

So now, as I look at my own five young ladies lounging about in exhaustion from yet another day filled with squirt guns and waterballoons, streaks of mud covering them, sneakers crusty with mud, my heart just gets all warm and tingly all over again. I asked them all if they had fun…and without hesitation they all laugh and say “yes”.

I am the luckiest Mom in the entire universe. Now, if only I had been lucky enough to realize that I am out of Tide…

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28 Responses to I Love Dirty Kids

  1. courtney

    What a great post! I am not a perfect mom by any means, but dirty kids have never been one of the things I take issue with-what’s the point? Childhood goes by so fast, let ’em roll around in the mud. Thanks for writing!

  2. Teresa Cleveland Wendel

    My kids always said that Mom wouldn’t get mad as long as they didn’t get mud in their ears.
    The fairy cakes is a delightful story made even more precious because the memory was piqued by the fun your own girls had getting dirty.

  3. Sandra

    This was a great read! And I am with you if they are having fun let them be dirty! Just today I walked outside to check on little one and found him playing in the sand. Trying to dig like the dog..was so cute. But I am glad I decided to wait on mopping the floors until he is in bed tonight :). That sure was some creative thinking you and your friend had!

  4. Kathleen Basi

    That’s a priceless story about you and the dress!

  5. BlendedMum

    I think the amount of mud is an exact measure of the fun. Hurrah for spring!

  6. Fawn

    I have always said that a child’s job was to get as dirty as possible every day. How else are they going to learn about all the beauties in this world. The feel of mud between your toes. What toppings fairys and gnomes like on their mud pies. The feeling of a sturdy branch as you read comfortably in a tree while enjoying a summer breeze. A worms favorite place to live. How to build a rock wall for a fairy flower garden.

    You mom was right, that is why God invented washing machines. He was also behind the creation of a good stain remover. 😉

    There is nothing better than a child’s happy face after a fun day of exploration and getting dirty.

    • NorthernChicky

      GREAT descriptions, Fawn! You know exactly what I am talking about!

  7. Adam Behar

    Love your writing!

  8. Tess Kann

    Great story. When you were young, fabrics weren’t as user friendly as they are now and a lot more work to upkeep. Yout mom was more than tickled to hear you had a good time. Sounds like your kids know how to have fun too. Love your posts!

    We were five siblings (all girls) when I was growing up. We had a wringer washer and everything had to be starched and ironed within an inch of it’s short life. Possibly that’s the reason we couldn’t get dirty so we didn’t know how to have fun. When my daughter came along, I encouraged her to do whatever she wanted and the first time she came home from playtime at the neighbours, I almost cried to see the knees of her pants green, her top ripped and her face an hands grubby. I knew she’d had a good time.

    • NorthernChicky

      You do have a point, Tess…we def do have it much easier these days on that front!

  9. Shannon

    It is always good to be reminded that a little dirt wont hurt. I spent so much time being stressed out when my kids were little. They didnt know how to get dirty… because we avoided it at all costs. Did I think they would melt or what? Now I have a babysitter that turns the hose on in the mud on purpose. I love it! The kids are learning to play…. It is wonderful! Thank you for sharing!!!

    • NorthernChicky

      Hi, Shannon! Yes, with five of them I just think there are other more important things to be concerned about.

  10. Laura

    I love that your mom was so easygoing about your day playing with mud. What a sweet idea to make mud cakes for the fairies, and with real dandelion butter, too! I bet those little ladies miss your treats!

    I hope you and your girls get to enjoy the warm weather for awhile longer! 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the web!

  11. Alyson

    Sounds like you had the best mom EVER, and she taught you well.


  12. kathyplashley

    Great post. It made me remember the time I had a “flour” fight in the kitchen with my 3 kids. Fun times. Thanks for taking me back.

  13. Flav

    I looove when my Victoria gets all dirty! When she was starting to eat solids, I used to make spaghetti bolognese on purpose just to watch her making a mess 🙂 I think is great, what is the fun in being a kid if you can’t get messy?

  14. Paula @lkg4sweetspot

    That is a wonderful story! I have never understood Moms who get mad at their kids for getting dirty. Getting dirty is a right of childhood! Your Mom was the best.

    • NorthernChicky

      Thank you, Paula. I am certainly biased, but she was/is indeed!!!

  15. nareen rivas

    What a lovely post and what a wise mother you had. There are worst things than getting a dress dirty and you will always remember that day as a happy one.

  16. Nicole

    Ha ha! The neighbor recently told me that she calls my boys the “Huck Fynn” boys because they are always outside, usually barefoot, and most often very dirty. I do get a little grumpy about the mopping though!

    • NorthernChicky

      My favorite is when they come in so exhausted at night, covered in dirt, and fall asleep before they can clean up. Extra load of sheets and blankets thd next day…hehehe!

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