We’re having a proper Canadian winter up here in Toronto, and mostly it’s cold. There’s been snow, and more snow, but also spells of warm weather, which melt the snow, revealing the patches of ground underneath. When more melted snow mixes with these patches of earth, we get a mud patch.
There is one of these near my kindergartener’s school. Some of the kids go near it and explore it with a toe or a stick. My boy walks, slides, and eventually wades in it. He’ll lie around and roll and never was there a happier little pig than the one he is pretending to be. He’s so caked in the mud I wonder how the fellow can move with all that extra weight – it can’t be easy, and I notice how his arms hang low by his sides after a good roll.
People react differently and according to their life stage when they see my muddy boy. The kids his age come as near as they dare, and then run away, screeching. The adolescent girls giggle and tell me that he is adorable. The grandmother nods cautiously, saying that I’m wonderful, and that she’d be rattled if her child came home like that. The other mothers with young children look on attentively, their silent prayer of thanks that their children’s clothes do not look like this so clear I can basically hear it anyway.
The sasquatch that my kid becomes is not allowed in the car. I strip him down until I can recognize him and he’s clean enough to sit down, which usually means he’s down to his underwear and socks, even if it is February.
Washing the clothes, however, is another matter.
One mom gave me a great idea for cleaning, and I’m sharing it in case your kid loves the earth the way mine does. Don’t bring the wet muddy clothes inside. Instead, hang outside until everything freezes/dries. Then whack away as much mud as you can – it should flake off. Bring the gear in: it will still be filthy, but it won’t be heavy with the mud, and you can put it directly in the washing machine. This is way better than trying to rinse pounds of mud away in the laundry sink, which will become clogged.
Then remember that spring is coming, and get set to do it again (and again).