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Grumblings of a Granny Archives - Muddling Through Motherhood

Category: Grumblings of a Granny

Grumblings of a Granny: “Let them eat dirt”


Here’s another classic blog post from my Mum. It’s pretty much her just moaning again about how good/bad/different things were in the ‘old days’. Yes, we know life was tough. You didn’t have cute videos of cats on Facebook to cheer you up or mobile phones or even proper nappies.

Disclaimer: my Mum grew up in the 1950s when there were either fewer paedophiles or parents’ were less aware of the dangers of letting their children wander around wherever they liked. In the mid-1990s, my brother and I had a fairly idyllic childhood in a beautiful part of Kent and spent many happy days playing in the local rec, woods and farm, so I can vouch for the benefits of being allowed to get muddy, climb trees and build camps. Hopefully, I will also be able to pass this on to my daughter, as my Mum did for us. And then she can pass it on to her children, although by the time the J has kids there probably won’t be such a thing as outside; it will all be virtual reality and living in metal cubes with robot servants.

“Let them eat dirt”

What is it about parents today that makes them want to protect their offspring from the evils of mud, dirt, sand, the weather and most things natural? As a child growing up, I was allowed to play unaccompanied in the local recreation ground, make camps in the woods, collect worms in a tin and make perfume from flower petals. I expect my mother did make us wash our hands before meals, but I don’t remember doing it!

As one of four kids, we stayed outside in our small garden ’till dusk riding around on our trikes (we only had two between us and only one of them was any good, so much of the day involved fighting over said trike) until called in for a bath. Everything seemed so carefree back then. My Dad made us a sandpit and a rope swing tied to a tree. In the summer, out came a paddling pool and a makeshift slide into it, giving us endless fun.

These days, however, according to my source at the toy shop, sandpit sales have slumped (we bought the J one for her birthday) as Mums just don’t want the mess at home. They would rather pay for an experience in play park or petting zoo, with easy access to antibacterial soaps etc. Organised mess is OK, but not in my back garden.

I used to climb high trees, make things from twigs, collect dead baby birds (yes I did) and take them home because I felt sorry for them. My favourite scooter went everywhere with me, exploring roads I didn’t know existed – we had such freedom. My daughter is horrified at my recollections, but that was what it was like. There was no ‘stranger danger’ back then, just an awareness of any weirdos who needed a wide berth.

But as for getting messy, please let your children explore outside, risk ruining clothes, getting stains that maybe won’t come out. Let them experience knocks and grazes, cuts and splinters and then live to tell the tale.
Childhood is so short these days before pressure is put on them and responsibilities taken up, so PLEASE let them eat dirt before they are too old.

Grumblings of a Granny

This is not actually my mother, but I thought it would annoy her to include a photo of a ‘Granny’ as an old lady! Pic credit: Alex Harvey/unsplash.com


My Mum, the J’s Granny has expressed an interest in writing a guest blog post for me. I have decided to let her write what she wants, even though most of it is a passive-aggressive dig at me and my mothering skills. We have come to a happy-ish conclusion that she will continue to interfere/nag me and say things like, “We didn’t do that in my day” and I will tell her to sod off when it gets too much. It seems to be working for now. So here is her first-ever blog post, titled Grumblings of a Granny by Granny Pip (have no idea why she is Pip, this is not her name, her name is Jane…).

Grumblings of a Granny

What a wonderful gift a grandchild is. I thought that as a trained Nursery Nurse (now well retired) I would be well equipped to cope as a new Granny. How wrong could I be. So much seems to have changed in the intervening years, for example:

  • Sleeping: No longer do you put your baby to bed in a cot with warm blankets and covers. Everyone seems to use these grow bags with no covers at all. I grew tomatoes in a grow bag!

  • The pram: I was looking forward to proudly pushing my grandchild around the village in a Silver Cross, a good solid upright pram that is built to last. Oh no, G had her mind set on a three-wheeled, all-terrain contraption that seems to do everything in every position for every age. However, I find kerbs are a nightmare and it leaves lots of mud in the back of my car when folded up (that in itself is quite an achievement). To be fair, you would have never got a Silver Cross in a car.

  • Bottles: Well that can’t have changed much, I thought. Dream on. We made up the bottles in the morning for the day ahead and kept them in the fridge, which is definitely not recommended now. G has an expensive machine that makes up a bottle when required, heats the water to the exact temperature, mixes the milk powder and produces the perfect bottle ready to use. Pity it doesn’t wash the bottles up as well and make the tea! Now that would be handy.

  • Snacks: These are another eye opener. In my day (she hates me saying that) a snack was a Farleys rusk and not much else. Now you can get all types of puffs, biscuits, wafers, etc, in all flavours and shapes. I have found one I rather like, a carrot-flavoured stick thing that looks like a Wotsit. I had to try them first and unfortunately made my way through half the packet before J got a look in. And why is it, when the J has lunch at my house it happens to be spaghetti bolognese, which she duly flicks across the room in all directions, landing on my white table cloth. Thankfully, a spot of Vanish got her out of that one.

I have so many stories and so little space. But I will say I am loving having a grandchild and all that it entails, and I promise to listen and learn (again) how to bring up a child.