Do you think I’m excited about this or traumatized? Maybe a little of both… haha!
So, I decided to be adventurous. I’m reading a book called “Montessori from the Start” since I’m really fascinated by the Montessori philosophy. One of the ideas of Montessori is that children should play with real and natural things as opposed to all of these plastic toys that are everywhere. They need to be outside experiencing nature… such as playing with grass, dirt, rocks, sticks, and probably bugs (eek!). Really though, if you think about, we are such an inside culture with electronics everywhere. It’s funny that all the toys you buy have something listed about your child’s development such as textures, colors, sounds etc. These are all qualities that mimic things in the real world!
Anyway, to get to my story. I was in an adventurous mood and it was such a pretty day. So, I took Clara to the Botanical Gardens for a picnic. I decided I was going to let her crawl around and experience the real world- outside of our living room full of plastic toys. She loved the feel of the grass between her toes and tried to pull it out of the ground. She was fascinated by the mulch in the rose garden. She looked up at the sky through the trees in wonder and pointed as if to reach up and touch it. Then she started playing in the dirt. I decided I’d get out my camera to take a picture of this exploration. After I snapped the picture and take a second to look at it… thinking I was so proud of myself for relaxing enough to let her play in the dirt.
Then! She shoves a handful of dirt in her mouth. I hurriedly dig in her mouth to get it out, probably with a look of panic on my face. She looks at me in bewilderment, which she is known to do. There are little flecks of dirt on her lips. Of course, in that moment I realize I could take a harmless experience and create a fearful experience for her. Then I stop myself. I realize this is an opportunity to break the cycle of fear that I come by honestly (don’t worry Mom, you know I love you :). So I decide, “eh, what’s a little dirt? There could have been a bug in there, maybe some bark, hopefully not an remnants of a cigarette butt- there I go again… BUT it’s not like she swallowed a tarantula or something. She’ll be fine.”