Life With Nine Kids

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I let my babies eat dirt (and occasionally a bug)


Baby Bee met another milestone!  Eating dirt in the exploratory sense is a developmental milestone and right of passage in our household. I have lots of pictures of every kid in dirt and mud. Many of the photos are of infants through age six, many barefoot, all happy and healthy.

Today was a beautiful day; I once again have an infant at spring time. It's amazing and mind blowing to us that about every two or three years we have another infant in our arms, in the grass, and on the ground. We love the outdoors and on any nice day I'd rather be outside than in; I love all that open space and moving air. As spring arrives I shovel, weed, and plant near a sitting up, crawling, or toddling infant who always ends up plopped down in the middle of grass and dirt. We leave them to play at our feet and they are so happy doing so. Quickly they snatch up leaves with their tiny hands and smear dirt over their tiny lips and tongues. I wipe the excess from their mouths gingerly and I chuckle at them. Before I go back to tending to my flower beds I often grab the camera to record the free spirit of a baby at peace with eating a wee bit of dirt. It's not the same for them as it us for us you know, it's not gross to them. The gritty feeling doesn't even phase them. They look totally content. With every single baby I wonder how much stuff they put into their mouths that we never even see.

From: Babies Know: A Little Dirt Is Good for You   
"In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with “dirt” spur the development of a healthy immune system."

I remember Everett was an infant "the year of the cicada hit." They were invading porches and yards in hoards. The buzzing sound singing from the woods and grass was almost deafening. Some of our friends down the road were being dive bombed on their porches they had so many. We saw them everywhere and they were loud, but we kind of enjoyed them! (We were not being dive bombed!) At the time baby Everett was about six months old. He was sitting up happy to play anywhere, especially outside. Everett would find cicadas almost anywhere and plop them into his curious little mouth. He'd swish and suck on them and scream like heck when we would take them away from him. At first we were a little grossed out but after the fourth cicada it was part of life.

I wrote this spring of 2011 after his first cicada :
Things Everett ate today (that I know of) that he didn't have permission to eat: some grass, 1 piece dog food, 1 cicada. Yea, I said cicada. Everyday outside I hear the words, "Mom, Everett's going to eat a cicada!" Today no one saw him get one... until he was gagging and I scooped it out of him. It was totally gummed up by him. Ha! Being a baby is so awesome.
      
Everett 6 months old 2011. He's probably looking for something earthy to taste.
After that incident he would some how acquire a cicada while just sitting on our lap outdoors, not even in the grass! And even inside the house on occasion we'd find him with one. Those little buggers were everywhere and our kid could find them! It became a joke; if we were outdoors just give Everett 5 minutes and he'd have one. We'd look in the grass where we put him down and there would be none around, but check his mouth or hands in five minutes and he'd totally have one. Some were shells of the bug, some were dead bugs, some were alive bugs. The live ones really grossed us out with their tacky legs! However, people all over the world eat bugs, it's not that weird even if it does sound gross. They are super healthy and so easy to raise. There's even a bug saying:

Red, orange, yellow, forget this fellow.
Black, green or brown, wolf it down.

Funny to think about it now because when he was two and a half he could grab flies out of the thin air. We called him Mr. Miyagi when he grabbed flies. It was hilarious. Our little free range baby.
Everett, six months old 2011

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