November 23, 2014

Mud Pies and Giggles- Loving the Mess


A Little Mess is Always worth It

Many people will see these picture and absolutely cringe. Just think of the cleanup! I must admit, this thought often crosses my mind; today, however, we played outside with reckless abandon. The kids I nanny are awesome! They climb trees, they inspect bugs, they watch clouds float by, and today I taught them the fine art of mud pie making.

Our day consisted of the usual dusty dirt digging, trying to get to the lair of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, of course. A digging hole turned into a moat when the hose was turned on, which led to mud, and then to splashing. So much splashing! Under the shade of a blooming loquat tree, twenty little toes slithered through the squishiest of mud. Giggles and squeals could be heard from far and wide.

The moments I spend with the kids I nanny can be divided into many compartments. Sometimes it is the "You Are Not My Kids and I Cannot Stand Your Complaining so Please Let Me Go Home" section. Other times it is the "I Cannot Believe I get Paid to Color and Paint all Day" department. Days like today fall into the "You Sweet Little Humans Are Amazing Souls and I Will Remember This Moment Forever Because You Have Impacted My Life" compartment. I honestly believe so much can be learned from children, so long as we truly listen to what they say and do.

The Fine Art of Making a Perfect Mud Pie
So you might be wondering, what does mud have to do with happiness? Well, simply nothing and absolutely everything. Maybe today it is mud, tomorrow it is pretending to be something silly, and yesterday it was coloring with a four year old. The point is time spent with undivided attention means everything to a child. It doesn't have to be the whole day, or even a whole hour, but kids know if you are really present or if your attention is spent elsewhere. If you take a few minutes here and there to fully observe and listen to a child, you learn a lot. Children are intelligent and intuitive beings that don't always get much credit. They deserve to have their ideas heard and their opinions expressed just like any other person. 

If I would have stopped them because of the mess, we would have missed out on so much fun! Afterwards it took a hose, a few extra minutes, and a quick wardrobe change to clean up- which was not too much effort. Next time you are about to say no, think of what the costs and reward are. Often times we limit kids because we don't think it is worth the time or mess, but to that child a yes could mean everything in that moment. 

New Freckles?...
Remember that mud can always be cleaned up and clothes can always be washed, but the moments of messy memories can pass by too quickly. Have fun, let their imaginations grow, and let the mess slide for now.

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