Ever since I can remember, Max has not been a fan of mess. He never liked messy play, painting, even messy eating wasn’t something that he would tolerate. I distinctly remember that first summer when he started walking, and he would refuse to walk on the grass in his bare feet – he hated the feeling of it touching him. For so long he’s refused to wear wellies, and I’ve felt he’s missed out on so many childhood experiences because of his hatred of getting dirty. No jumping in muddy puddles for Max!
But over the years, he’s got gradually more accepting of messy experiences. His nursery key workers have tried really hard with him and now he loves painting and play doh – he’s just still very particular about cleaning himself up afterwards. And about 5 months ago, he decided that wellies weren’t so bad after all.
For the past few months I’ve watched him become more and more brave in his exploits – jumping in puddles, squelching in the mud. We’re very much an outdoor family and love getting outside, but Max’s hatred of dirt and rain has meant that we’ve been very much fairweather explorers. The rainy January weather has forced us to get outside and it’s been noticeable how much Max is beginning to embrace getting dirty. He’ll actively seek out muddy puddles and has started taking great pleasure in jumping in them and splashing anyone who has the misfortune to be standing too close (usually me!). Last weekend, he even strode out quite a way into a lake – at one point I was worried he was going to get water over the top of his wellies! So many times lately we’ve got home and I’ve realised that all of his clothes are filthy, and while I’m sure in a few months time that will irritate me, for now, it’s the best feeling ever. I finally feel like he’s enjoying all those things that he’s been missing out on, and enjoying being a child.