It's spring, and anyone reading this knows that means I'm out in the garden as much as possible. Now with a toddler in tow, there are new and unpredictable challenges. Namely the eating dirt dilemma. Some parents out there know of something that goes like this:
1. Child plays with dirt.
2. Child determines that some activity resulting in dirt entering mouth is fun.
3. Parent calculates just how dangerous having dirt in the mouth is.
4. Child looks to parent sensing that something may be wrong ('testing the waters')
5. Dilemma unfolds:
Chastising child may cause him to not enjoy gardening.
Is the particular dirt dirty? (Are there toxic or dangerous items?)
What are the long term effects of eating dirt? Are there any benefits?
If dirt eating is bad for you, would ignoring the behavior normalize it or speed its demise?
Where is my camera?
So apart from my conclusion on the spot that this is just another good way to build up my son's antigen diversity, I opted to point out to him that he was eating dirt, but not the stop himself from doing it. I was fully aware of the content of the dirt (no New Haven toxins, no glass, no chemicals) so was able to remove that level of concern.
But now I'm wondering, is there anything to this antigen diversity business? Or is that just another excuse from a lazy parent?