For today’s totally obvious fact, kids are dirty. Once they’re ambulatory, there is no limit to the funk they can find. You also learn as a mother that there is “good dirt” and “bad dirt,” and it IS possible to have “clean dirt.” “Good dirt” is just that: your garden variety garden dirt or sand. “Bad dirt” has mysterious organic matter in it: human or animal poo or some kind of rotting food with or without a mold component. I suppose I should also include fire ants in with that, as once upon a time Stella went to a playground and grabbed a fabulous pile of sand which ended up being an ant bed. Not cool. Not cool at all.
My kids have being going to their nanny’s house a couple of days a week (this will change shortly). Stella loves it, as she gets to play with her BFF. I love it as she typically does not nap over there, plays all day, and comes home exhausted thereby making my evenings a bit easier. The nanny is also the childcare equivalent of a football coach; when I pick my kids up, she tells me “I make those girls run.” Lest you think her a monster, the girls are having a blast in her backyard. She’s got a swing set and usually some sort of water feature/wading pool in the summer. This year? She’s also got the beginnings of a flower bed. This means a dirt pit, essentially. Most recently, the girls have been mixing the dirt pit with the water feature.
My daughter has an amazing head of hair. Sure, I’ve never had it cut other than a tiny trim just after her first birthday. But it’s not the length that’s an issue. It’s the thickness. Being only 2 and ½ years old, she’ll tolerate a standard shampooing, but head immersion? No way, man. We’re nowhere near ready for that. Some dirt or dirt density really requires immersion to fully remove it from the head in question.
I picked Stella up last Monday and my kid was as filthy as I’ve ever seen her. She almost didn’t look Caucasian anymore. It was a pretty funny sight to see Stella and her little BFF, both completely stained with muck, dancing and singing to They Might Be Giants’ science DVD in nothing but T-shirts and drawers. The nanny apologized, and said she had thrown both girls in the tub to try to remove as much dirt as possible but Stella was still going to need another bath. And her hair? I had to wonder if the elevation of the nanny’s back yard dropped due to land loss. There was a huge amount of soil departing the property by way of my daughter’s scalp. Even Felix had dirt on him: Silt by association, I guess. I got dirt in my mouth kissing his little head.
I got her home and we shampooed. Twice. Startling amounts of soil came out of her hair and off of her body. I don’t know that I’ve seen dirtier water outside of the Ganges River, and the ring around the tub looked like the high water mark in New Orleans after Katrina. When I drained the tub, the dirt swirled around with the leftover glitter from our previous week’s art project making a rather sparkling mud mixture in drifts along the tub bottom. I rinsed the tub but lots of dirt still remained. Oui Oui finally got it clean the next day when she came.
As I combed her hair that night, dirt was raining down on me and her once-clean body. It was late. It was time for dinner. She was worn out. There was no way we were taking another bath and having another shampoo. I rationalized that this dirt was “clean,” as it had been washed. We pressed on and within 15 minutes after eating her noodles and pear for dinner, she was out.
It took about 2 more days for all the dirt to make its way out of her hair. That’s ok. We saved some in our bed in the form of grit under the pillows and on top of the sheet. As obnoxious as this is, I’d rather have this than the cupcake crumbs she insisted on crumbling up and sprinkling on herself Friday.
I love that my little girl does not cower in fear of dirt. I was a tomboy myself as a kid. What is funny to me is that this same little girl who would probably roll in dirt if given the opportunity will also tackle me if she sees me trying to put polish on my toenails without giving her some “sparkles.” It doesn’t matter if she received a pedicure earlier that day, she must have more sparkles if I’m having some. I will have to put a dab of whatever color I’m wearing on top of whatever it is she has. She will even scrape and peel off her sparkles so that she can have more, sooner. If only I could get her to scrape the dirt off of herself….