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Go Ask Mom

Lynda Loveland: Let them be dirty!

Posted May 26, 2010

Lynda Loveland

A lot of you know I grew up on a farm. I think I was the original ring around the tub kid. I would get sooo dirty on a daily basis. There was just too much to get into.

I don’t really remember being overly particular about washing my hands either. We always had butter and bacon grease sitting out. My mom would cut up meat on an old wooden cutting board and maybe bleach it every other week or so. But you know what, I nearly always finished the school year with a perfect attendance. Speaking of dirt and bacteria, a new study I just read found a possible link to a bacteria found in soil and intelligence.

Now, with kids of my own, I’m finding old habits die hard. I still have butter sitting out and I’ll keep bacon grease out for a day or two, in case I need to fry some chicken in it. J

I don’t believe in anti-bacterial soap. Regular stuff does the trick just fine. The first thing my kids do when they come home is turn over the decorative stone edging to look for bugs, snails, slugs, snakes and worms. (Please excuse the un-even landscaping if you happen to come by.) The other day my son came in with not two, not three, but SIX slugs on his arms! They love to make “monster soup” out of stuff they find in the back yard.

It’s hard at first to let go and not say a word when my three-year-old princess sits right in the middle of a big chalk drawing in her pretty dress. Or rush over to clean her when her ice cream cone drips all down her front. Why sweat it? That’s what washing machines are for. If they’re not dirty, they didn’t have enough fun. Lynda Loveland's three-year-old

By the way, I’ve included a picture of my three-year-old, dirty as can be, in her Barbie wedding dress. She looks like she’s in trouble. She wasn’t. Just angry it was bath time.

Lynda is the mom of three and co-host of Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM's Bill & Lynda in the Morning. Find her here every Thursday.


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  • elakb May 31, 2010

    I love your blog, Lynda. We stay so focused today running our children to scheduled practices that we need to remember how important free play is for personality development. They need to romp,climb trees,and get dirty. I think Freud would agree that it's important for a well-balanced personality. After all, dancing in the backyard sprinkler is just as important to child development as knowing where to place the knife and fork on the table setting. I hope my children remember the smell of fresh-cut grass and the taste of sticky roasted marshmallows when they think of childhood. Thanks for reminding us, Lynda.

  • TheAdmiral May 28, 2010

    Linda, your right on the nose. The more they are exposed to, the less that they are likely to die from it when they are adults.

  • MyThreeDaughters May 28, 2010

    This is Fantastic! I feel the same way with my girls. There is enough prissy, princessy stuff they do on a regular basis that I am happy when they are filthy from being outside or soaked from running in the rain. Thanks, Linda!

  • kittiboo May 27, 2010

    I'm with you, Lynda. I think the movement toward germ-free/dirt-free kids is ridiculous and potentially harmful. Just the other day I uttered the sentence, "We don't eat stuff we find in the couch!" and when I realized it was just a stale Cheerio, I was like, coulda been worse! I hope my daughter enjoys dirt and the outdoors like I did.

  • luke May 27, 2010

    You remind me somewhat of my Mother.We used to get so dirty.The bacteria thing is right.Drug companies take soil samples from all over the world because of beneficial stuff in dirt.When they find something useful, they synthesize it,they patent it,and they sell it.Dirt is good!!

  • fishnett5977 May 27, 2010

    All mom's need to think like you. I know I am the last generation that knows"God made kids perfectly washable"!lol My own boys played until you could only see their blue eyes! And now my granddaughter and grandsons do too! My granddaughter even asked me the other day -"Gammy, I'm a country girl, aint I?"And my reply - "Yes mam, to the core!!!"lol Wish they could all stay little! But with your tolerance for dirty, they will grow well in this Carolina soil! ;) lol

  • Mom2two May 27, 2010

    Please read "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv. Our children (of all ages, for that matter!) need REAL exposure to the natural world, not something they watch on TV, see on the computer or study in the classroom. They need to explore in the creeks, in the woods, and lay in the grass, getting up close and personal with nature. Build that brain, that immunity and that vitamin D level!

    Lynda, you are right on!

  • thecatsmeow67 May 27, 2010

    My 11 yo is between girl and "tomboy". she loves to dig for worms to feed her chickens and turtle. She likes to get dirty working in her flower garden. She likes earrings, the color pink and purple. I don't mind if she gets filthy after school or church just not before :).

  • the people May 26, 2010

    They up quick !!!! My oldest is 14 now ;where did the days go?? Enjoy ,they will ask for the keys soon!!! Dirt is part of growing up!!!! Mudd,snakes,turtles etc!!!! It's so much about learning!!!!!