Friday, February 10, 2012

Best Dad Moments: Playing in the Mud

It's hard to pick a "best day" when you're a dad, let alone if you're an at-home dad where every day is spent having fun with and nurturing your child.  I think that today will rank pretty high up there on that list of "best days" for me.  And it's not because anything special happened, but the sheer joy that my child experienced today was at a level that is not often reached and rarely eclipsed.

Little Nugget and I had a lot to get done today.  We had to drop off some boxes for a consignment sale (here's the details for you locals), stop at the bank, spend some of daddy's birthday money on a new softball glove, get some picks and strings for daddy's banjo, get lunch, and finally, meet my mom and sister so my daughter could play with her cousin, C-man.

So yes, there was a lot of car time for my kid today, and we all remember how Mrs. Matt Daddy feels about car time, right?  Well, there's only one thing that Mrs. Matt Daddy hates more than long car rides and that's dirt and germs (more germs than dirt, but they usually go hand in hand).  Yes, like every mother, she has a tiny case of germaphobia, and that's okay.  Don't tell her this, but when she's not around, I get to stretch the normal boundaries of what is acceptable for our child to participate in.  Hey, I'm not cruel!  I cleaned the cart handle when we picked up eggs and milk at the grocery store.  I washed her hands after she touched everything at the used sporting goods shop.  I don't want her to get the flu.  We've already done that.

What I'm talking about is the chance to just be a kid and play in some dirt.  When we arrived at my sister's home, she brought C-man out to meet us, and the kids started running all over the place.  The yard was pretty muddy, but  there were some spots of snow that had not yet melted.  Wouldn't you know it, the first thing my kid does is run up to the snowy spot and plop down.  She then proceeds to flop backwards, snow angel style, and get her clothes all snowy and muddy.  At that point, what could I do?  She had already soiled her clothes beyond help, so I just let her run wild with her cousin.

They ran from front yard to back yard, picking up sticks and playing with trucks.  They squealed when they fell in the mud, and they laughed like drunken sailors when they played in the snow.  Not even story time at the library, which my daughter really, REALLY loves, could compare to this.  She was getting to do something that we don't normally let her do, and she was experiencing the total freedom of childhood.  Her joy was bringing me joy, and it was a fantastic day.

Of course, as it got closer and closer to nap time, the fun wore off, the noses started to run, and the kids didn't want to be muddy any more.  They just wanted to be warm and cozy.  So we drove home, I gave her a nice warm bubble bath, and she finished her nap while daddy was thinking about what to write today.

Luckily, life had given me great inspiration.  I'm so lucky to be an at-home dad.    


  1. Love this! There is no greater joy than seeing our children all dirty from play...and then watching them sleep so soundly later. :-)


  2. It can be so hard to let go and let your kids get all messy and crazy, but when I do they have so much fun! It all comes out in the wash, right?

  3. THOSE moments are the ones you'll cherish the most...capture them on pictures and videos - too many parents only photograph the big events and those are often special, but can be stilted. It's playing and living life that you'll remember most!

  4. @Rosann - Thanks for stopping by! I agree, there is nothing like wearing a kid out with fun and seeing them sleep it off.

    @Crazed - We have built up a culture that is afraid to let our kids explore. It is the primary reason that other nations are catching up to us in science and learning. Read the book "Free Range Kids" if you can. It helps encourage parents to keep that healthy fear in check. Thanks for the comment!

    @Bruce - Thanks for the comment (as always!). I appreciate the time you spend here on my site.



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