Hayes_Messy Toddler_Large

The Art of Mess Making

Author: Kate Hayes
Published Date: Thursday, March 16, 2017

While I sit here and write this blog, Annabel is fast asleep after an exciting day of getting messy! Her nightly bath, which used to simply be a quick part of our bedtime, has now become a purposeful requirement necessary to scrub her of the day’s messes. She gets into everything - paint, dirt, sand, sugar, you name it. If you can squish it, squash it, pour it, pile it or smear it, Annabel will be delighted by it.

I know sensory experiences are part of her learning, and I am trying my best to embrace her toddler messiness. Today, for instance, she spent the morning baking with Grandma Peggy while mommy went to work. Annabel got her own little bowl of confectioner’s sugar to play with, and at the end of the day, I got a happy, chocolaty, sugar-covered kid (and some delicious brownies, too).

When we got home, she used those sticky little hands to try to put the leashes on our dogs, who were eagerly awaiting their walk. Now she was sticky and covered in dog fur. Once I took the leashes, she climbed into her stroller content to ride. She only rides in her stroller when we walk the dogs around the neighborhood. Any other time, she likes to ride her trike or run around and crunch leaves underfoot.

After our walk, she hopped out of her stroller, chased the dogs around a bit, and then I could see her sense of adventure kick in. She went straight to what used to be my flowerbed. She discovered dirt and, in some spots, mud. She must have liked the way it felt on her fingers, and I could see her wheels turning while she experimented with piling and patting it. I loved making mud pies with sticks and stones as ingredients when I was a kid, so it must be in the genes. Watching her become dirtier by the second, I reminded myself that messy play builds creativity and a sense of adventure. I told myself to just lighten up, and let her play.

It is amazing to watch her discover the world, and for now that means letting her jump in, make a mess and show her how to clean up. I am going to wash her clothes and give her a bath anyway. I might as well let her explore, learn and enjoy.

Happy parenting!

About Kate Hayes

Kate Hayes lives in Virginia Beach, VA and is a first time parent to Annabel – born on July 22, 2015. Kate is a yoga and aerial fitness instructor. She especially enjoys teaching on the beach, and is certified in laughing yoga, and prenatal yoga. Kate and her husband, Robert, enjoy spending time with their daughter and their two dogs.