Family Magazine

Cute/Gross Toddler Activities

By Melody S
At 21 months, McKenna is a busy, active, and curious toddler, like most kids her age. I try hard not to be a helicopter parent and stifle her curiosity. I let her explore the house on her own a lot more than I used to, trusting that she will avoid drinking from the dogs' water bowl or playing in the hamper of soiled cloth diapers. And usually, she does. Sometimes though, I catch her doing something that is downright gross. Some of her recent follies include:
- Twiddling the dogs' jowls and checking for canine cavities. I caught her second knuckle-deep into our German Shepherd's mouth this morning. When I came around the corner and saw what she was doing, she looked up at me innocently, before proceeding to lick her fingers clean. All-gone plaque!
- "Helping" clean up after a particularly messy diaper change. While I do not discourage her from exploring any and all parts of her body, there is a time and a place for these explorations. And that time is not while I am hastily wiping green-brown poo from her legs.
- Getting down on all fours and helping clean up a spilled mess with her tongue. She's at the age now where she mimics everything. I guess she thought she was pretty clever getting her share of the spill before her canine siblings got to it. And a puddle of Diet Coke is hard to pick up with your fingers, after all.
- Insisting on using her father's bloody tissues to wipe her mouth and face. All. The. Time.
- Waiting until she is waist-deep in the tub before realizing she needs to poop. I know, they all do that, but really!?
- Trying to figure out why the daddy long-legs she tried to consume won't stop wiggling in her mouth. The look on her face is not one that I will forget anytime soon - a mixture of surprise, shock, and "oops!"
It is the job of the toddler to be a budding scientist and explore the world around them, trying to establish cause-and-effect. I know that her frontal lobes will not mature for another 20 years, and her ability to predict the consequences of her actions will remain poor for quite some time. Every day is an adventure in our house, as we try to protect her from the truly harmful, while allowing her to make the every day mistakes that will lead to her growth and confidence. Now, if only my gag reflex could take a back seat for the next few years...

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