The Downstairs Bathroom is Filthy- What Joy!

Hula Girl and I have been outside pretty much the entire time she’s been awake for the past several days. And when that girl goes outside, she GOES OUTSIDE. Dirt, mud, dead grass remnants, dandelion stains, scrapes, sunscreen, sweat, and bruises cover her entire body when she comes back inside. It is awesome.

There is something innately glorious about a child outside. When children are allowed to roam and explore to their hearts’ content, it makes a very satisfying mess. Call me weird, but a hot, sweaty little girl’s head resting on my shoulder while I read a calming story to her is one of the most beautiful things about summer. To let her play, to let her exercise, to let her be a child outside- well, I wouldn’t trade it for much.

When we go out, Hula Girl usually spends her time digging in the mud, walking barefoot over the rocks, following ants, lackadaisically riding her tricycle in slow purposeful circles on the driveway, and getting absolutely covered in outdoor grime of all kinds. Mostly the kind that sticks to her superthick and insanely-difficult-to-rub-in sunscreen. Small rocks, insects, and tidbits of dead grass sink into the creases in her knees, elbows, and neckline. Dust and shreds of leaves stick in her hairline. And her fingernails are ever-caked with mud and gunk from her latest dig in the garden, the sandbox, or the empty field next to the house. Her face is always sporting some kind of debris, the kind a kid can only get when her hand unconsciously swipes at the gnats buzzing in her ear. And her hair- well, her hair is always matted down to her forehead with sweat and water from the hose. She is a picture of the grandeur and joy of childhood.

And then there is the smell. The hot, sweaty, absolutely disgusting little child smell. But since that child belongs to me, it’s one of the very best smells in the entire world. Healthy, you know? I love a child who smells healthy in the summer.

We can’t manage a bath every time we come back inside, so we stop in the downstairs bathroom and use a washcloth for a full-body sponge bath. She laughs and laughs when I sit her up on the sink and stick her feet in the cool water. She giggles with glee when I splash the back of her neck and she gets a thrill of delight when I scrub her toes with the washcloth. I so cherish the time I get to spend washing her little not-so-chubby-anymore-but-rather-muscular-now arms and legs. She squeals, “I’m cold! I’m cold!” But five seconds later she insists she needs a drink of water because she’s hot from being outside. So I slip her off the sink and dry her little hands and feet and marvel at the way she is growing.

What joy.


  1. Kristy said,

    May 16, 2013 at 9:40 am

    What a lucky girl to have you for a momma. Did you see Penny’s FB post about kids getting into dirt?

    • May 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      I did! I went to the article and wanted to know more. I felt like it was too short. I kind of like info, you know? 😉

      • Kristy said,

        May 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm

        Oh, I know – another one of those articles that gives most of the information in the title or in one sentence. I had fun posting pictures of dirty little faces in response to it, though. Scientific research aside, it just FEELS like they would be missing something out of their life education if they didn’t dig and touch insects and smear themselves with outdoor detritus.

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