I can hear them outside through the open window upstairs. I specifically decide to ignore them, and they play for almost 2 hours. They sound happy. And I fear that if I look too closely, I'll want to end their play.
Sometimes, I think this is the most important lesson I'm learning in my years as a parent: if it's not broke, don't fix it. I love to fix things! I love to tinker and repair and improve! I love to think about doing it; and I love to be surrounded in a project, up to my elbows, involved, changing and fixing. Until the line between tinkering and tampering dissolves.
At least, it dissolves with children. This I am learning: stop fixing. Let them go, let them do their own thing. They'll be occupied for a long time without your interference.
It's hard. They've dug a hole in the mulch. They've pulled back the weed barrier beneath. They dug a hole in the dirt beneath the barrier. This is not the stuff of Pinterest.
It's destructive, I tell myself. I should stop them.
No, it's repairable, I tell myself, I should let them play in the mud, like children should do in the summer. Stop being so sanitized. Let them be the ones who are involved.
The water table has once again become the mud table. It's hard to say where the water table ends and the raised planter begins.
The herbs and vegetables and planter are getting re-muddied, I suppose. Too bad there wasn't compost under the weed barrier.
What makes it easier than a few years ago is that I can give the hose to Noah and tell him to clean everything off. And he mostly will (including a few open windows and the glass sliding door). Meanwhile, I shower off the younger ones indoors. But it will still be challenging to clean everyone while keeping them from making a bigger mess. I wish I had somebody to help me. I wish that somebody could read a book with them so that I could REALLY clean up all the mess they made. Just 20 minutes. If someone could just help me for 20 minutes afterwards, it would be so much easier (physically and psychologically!) to let them go crazy in the mud.
I don't know. I waver. I waver between wanting to let them be creative, and just wanting things to be more orderly. Somedays, I wonder how much our environment, weed barrier and all, stifles us. Stifles me? Stifles the kids?
And somedays, I wonder if what really stifles me is the lack of time and help – just 20 minutes! – so that I can adequately spray the dumb dirt clods off the side of the playhouse and scrub dirt from beneath their fingernails without a new round of mud play beginning while my attention is diverted.