While I appreciate efforts to provide a cleaner & more hygienic environment for our kids to play with by replacing sand-filled playgrounds with rubber mats, I reminisce the days of my childhood spending time in those sand-filled playgrounds. It was there that I made neighbours-turned-friends (we even arranged to meet each other at the playground at a certain time); I would get sandy soles from running about playing ‘police & thief’ only to dust our slippers against the concrete structures of the swing just before we were about to go home, we would write our names on the sand using twigs or our fingers, have our daily dose of paddlepops and let it drip all over the place (oops).
It was through sand (pit) sessions at playgroups that I observed how much Liam enjoyed playing with sand. While I was glad at his willingness to explore instead of screaming how icky he wanted those grains off his hands, I was sad that finding sand-filled grounds wasn’t as accessible as the plastic structures & rubber mat ones.
Hence I was really thrilled to chance upon small spaces of sand pits with an old-school see saw to boot when we were around the Emerald Hill vicinity 2 weekends ago. Our little guy spotted the see-saw as we were walking back and ran right to it. Soon he started cupping his little hands, scooping & pouring sand from one spot to another. It was such a cute sight to behold and I snapped as many moments as I could. I had an inkling that he was going to explore putting them into his mouth soon. I kept anticipating, but with each anticipation, I lost the opportunity of capturing his spontaneous actions. And so I went all trigger happy again with the camera.
And of course kids being the little gungho, candid folks that they are, did what we least look forward to next. The young man mine starting putting his sandy hands around his mouth. He saw me go “nooooo!” for a brief moment before proceeding to put BOTH hands around his mouth probably knowing that it’ll drive me up the wall and have a funny-looking mama to laugh at. The husband managed to grab those little hands away from the mouth and dust sand off. Liam laughed and then cried out immediately after some sand landed on his tongue.
We knew he probably regretted his mischief, sighed at his whine for us to remove as many grains as we could – I used my cardigan to dust most of it out of his tongue, gave him some water to wash out the remaining bits and (we) marveled at how we didn’t freak out like paranoid parents as we did few months ago at Botanic Gardens when he ate some soil because we probably accepted that these incidents were part of his growing up and exploration. We continued to let him play, aware that he probably knew better now not to put sand into his mouth.
It’s been 2 weeks and nothing weird has happened out of his body system since. He still enjoys playing with sand these days and I’m a little more certain now that none will be entering his mouth for as long as he can remember how yucky they tasted.