The New York Times has this article arguing that dirt, worms, and parasites are actually good for young children. They help develop young immune systems, preventing allergies and auto-immune disorders. Thousands of years of evolution have actually taught kids to stick dirty things in their mouths. Kids who grow up on farms or in large families (where they’re presumably not watched as carefully, so they can eat more dirt) are healthier.
That’s good news.
But I’m still going to wash Sophie’s face and hands.
I’m just feeling a little less guilty about being chastised, this morning, for allowing Sophie to sneak forbidden small toys into her daycare. She’s obsessed with a marble she found at the park and wanted to show it to her best friend — but her best friend has a habit of eating small things. I knew that, so I pocketed the marble at the daycare door. Apparently, yesterday, I missed a tiny toy-car that Sophie had acquired from our neighbor’s bookcase.
Yes, Sophie not only snuck an old, probably-toxic, full-of-chokable-parts tiny toy car into daycare: it was also a semi-stolen car. Not fully stolen, really, because when she took it from the neighbors, she grinned and danced so adorably that the elderly couple who live next door declared that she could keep it. That girl is just too cute for her own good.
But apparently her habits will give her a strong immune system, if these same habits don’t choke her best friend first.