The last few weeks with my toddler were spent in a series of sleepless nights and gulping down yucky meds. Not letting worry get the better of me, I told myself that things would get better. After all, children get sick all the time. Still, the sick days are like a whirlwind where you can’t wait for things to get better. So, when a fever appeared and relapsed and when the cough wouldn’t subside, I indulged in a google search.
Google, like my good old pal, suggested me a list of things I shouldn’t be doing. I already felt better after reading it as if Google was the doctor or magician I was looking for.
Wash your child’s hand often – Okay, this is easy, I told myself. I just have to wash his hands each time we entered the house and before meal times and when he got himself dirty. How hard can this be?
After I washed his hands before meal time, my son managed to get his hands on some paint and colors and flour. So, after two more rounds of hand washing, we managed to get some food into our tummies.
Pollen high in the mornings so stay indoors – So, google says that it’s not a good idea to stay outside until 10 a.m. in the mornings because the pollen count is high. I tell myself that I’ll engage my son until 10 with games, rhymes and books. Even as the thought played inside my head, at 7 a.m., my son is beside the door waiting for it to open.
"But the pollen is high. Let’s go out later,” I said.
My son stared at me as if I were nuts. He banged on the door twice and threw his shoes to send the message across. So, out we were in the air that was supposedly laden with pollen.
Once outside, he climbs into a play structure that has a small puddle of water on it. There is simply no way of keeping a toddler away from a puddle. There simply isn’t. As I let out a scream inside my head, my son is happily wetting his hands in the puddle. Oh, but there are a million germs in there. What’s going to happen now? Should have been predictable by now.
A few minutes later, he is attracted to sand and mud that is lying on the ground. He is laughing and enjoying the feel of mud in his fingers. Instead of watching the delight on his face, I worry about the dirt under his fingernails. If this goes on, how will you ever stop sneezing or coughing? I wanted to ask him.
When I finally decide it’s time to head inside, my son gets pissed at the idea and starts to protest. In a toddler’s dictionary, protest has many forms. Right now, he chooses to spread himself on the ground, where millions of people have walked with their shoes on. He stays there for a minute longer until I pick him from the ground and think to myself – so much has happened this morning since I gave him a shower. Why did I bother because I would be doing it all over again in sometime?
A couple of days later, I decided to ignore google suggestions and let my toddler have fun in dirt, come sneeze or cough. Shortly enough, the sick days have disappeared for now but his passion towards open play in nature is not taking a backseat anytime soon.
That’s when I learnt – “The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful”