Caption This (the continuation)

For Wordless Wednesday I shared this photo...
and asked my readers to caption it... Thanks for rising to the occasion.

(I didn't want to exclude anyone, so I shared them all. Feel free to skim. Such creative ideas. I especially liked "Now Where Did Grandpa Drop His Dentures?" from Penelope. I laughed out loud at so many.)

WeeMasonMan's Mom said... Frog Hunting
Anna Lisa said... Muddy Waters
Deborah said... Muddling
Little Mochi said... Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
Buckeroomama said... I'm Going on a Bear Hunt
stacief said... Muddy castles on the horizon?
Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said... Shloop. Shloop.
Rocks said... Boots, Mud, or Footprints
Ash said... Headless
Tammi @ My Organized Chaos said... Seeking
lonestarlifer said... The only sounds were the lapping water and the squishing of the waders.
Sukhmandir Kaur said... These Boots are made for Mud Puddling Slithy Toves
GrammyMouseTails said... plop, plop, plop squish
Erin said... Treasure Hunting
Mimi @ Woven by Words said... Going to find me some clams.
Michelle said... He's clean now . . . wait five minutes.
Danielle said... On the hunt
Life Ramblings said... Mud-puddling
Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said... That's Mucked Up!
Lauren @ Hobo Mama said... Squilch
Lindsay said... Truckin' through the Muck
Paula said... I will put air holes in the lid and some grass for it to eat!
KLZ said... Into the Great Wide Open
Kim said... Searching
Bethany said... A boy and his mud.
Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) said...
Boots: check. Bucket: check. MUD: check. "I'm all set Mom, see ya in a few hours!"
Kristi {at} Live and Love...Out Loud said... Stuck in the muck of life? Strap on your boots!
Meg said... Through the muck and the mud!
The Sharp's said... A boy and his pale.
Layla Morgan Wilde said... The great hunter!
Caite said... Quicksand!!
Live Out Loud said... Squish-Squash
luckydame said... Oh My Galosh!
Traci66 said... Walkin' On A Dream or Boots In The Sand
Penelope said... Now Where Did Grandpa Drop His Dentures?
Joann Mannix said... What Summer Brings.
Run DMT said... A Beautiful Mess
Kat from California said... What will I find today?
Mommy Needs a Vacation said... Boys, Boots, & Buckets
Carrie Elbert said... These Boots Were Made For Walking
Miel Abeille said... Treasure Hunting

Thanks to all who played along. I decided to combine a couple and decided on...

Drum Roll Please...

Muddling Our Way Thru the Muck.

I wish this could be a story full of wit and funny clips to bring some gut rolling laughs, but my perspective is a bit sobering really. I guess it's the place I'm at in my life. Please bare with me.

As human beings, particularly mothers we have created this picture in our heads of what children SHOULD be like.

And then we go about our business of raising up offspring who we can only hope turn out to be honest, responsible, upstanding individuals. And who don’t end up on Springer.

Problem is there are no instruction manuals that are attached and we can only do what our limited abilities lend us because we ourselves are flawed.

Let’s rewind a bit.

I was recently able to spend some time with my sister in law. Watching her interact as a mother with her little one toddling about took me back to my early days as a new mom. I certainly didn’t want them to get dirty or be exposed to germs unnecessarily and I definitely wanted to protect them at all costs.

But as the years go by, little by little you unknowingly let out the reigns just a bit. I’m not sure exactly when it happens, but I know that by 5 you realize that they don’t die from germs or dirt and by 10 they seem to have a pretty good handle on reality and could probably teach you a thing or two. Plus a woman might go mad if she stayed that wound for that long.

Today Little Man wanted to catch a frog. And although the thought of yet another critter in the house makes my skin crawl, I kindly drove him down to the creek near our house in search of the little amphibious creature since it was raining outside.

And I sorta had an alterior motive. I hadn’t yet captured a photo for my Wordless Wednesday image, so he agreed to a photo shoot in exchange for his frog hunt.

No frogs were found, so I decided to take a drive to a different location that might provide both frogs and photo ops. It was still raining, so I grabbed the kid’s rain boots and some towels, just to be safe.

When we got to this location I was stoked. In my mind I could see amazing photo ops and it looked like Little Man might just score here. They put on their boots and went out in search of critters.



I grabbed my umbrella and started snapping some pics until what I was observing brought me to a screeching halt.

It was very apparent that neither one of my children wanted to be in the mud, rain boots or not. And nothing I said or did could change their mind.

Me: Don’t all kids like to play in mud?

Little Man: I hate mud.

Pokey started crying as her boots sank in just a little.

Me: Go have fun. It’s ok. Really.

Little Man: Well, I don’t see any frogs here. And I'm stuck.


Pokey cried some more (more of a whiney cry).

The dialogue continued for some time until I couldn’t help but feel exasperated. I should have continued shooting, but those long faces and forlorn expressions were not what I had visualized.


They both went down to the river to clean up.


And it was when Little Man was begging to leave so he could shower it suddenly dawned on me…

I’ve ruined them!

I’m not sure when or how it happened exactly, but I’ve ruined them.

All those years of trying to protect my little ones had in fact prevented them from enjoying the pleasures of childhood. Those carefree, play in the mud days are gone, never to return.

At least that is all I could think in that moment. And the 24 minutes that followed on that long drive home.

Some might think I was just being overly dramatic, or that I should be happy to have kids who appreciate cleanliness.

But I was genuinely pained at the sheer thought that I even MIGHT be responsible for this.

Over the years I've always tried so hard to be a good mom and make sure my kids were having ample experiences and adventures, but this... this is a giant hole in their childhood.

So I send out a plea…

Don’t worry that they don’t eat their peas, or potty train on your timetable, or say the right things, or get a little dirty…


Kids should be kids. Phases come and then leave as fast as they came. Embrace them for their quirks and their interests. Love them as they are and let them enjoy their youth. Let them play in the mud. Kids were meant to have fun and get dirty. And it washes. Trust me. There are much worse things to clean.

P.S. In my defense, hubs has admitted that although he loves all things outdoors, he makes an exception at mud. Maybe I didn’t do this to them after all? Or I wasn’t solely responsible? A girl can hope, right?

Now on to the next parenting mishap…


  1. That is a beautiful reflection on motherhood. You did not ruin them! It is a nice reminder to let the kids have fun while they can.

    Once again, great moments captured! Lucky you!

  2. oh momma. you did NOT ruin your kids. trust me...they are resilient.

    And i totally take this advice to heart. one bonus to being the last of my college friends to have a baby? watching them freak out over things that don't matter. they are amazed at how I can let E get all sandy and ridiculous at the beach, or run around outside barefoot.

    I say you are only a kid once! Do it up right!

    and on a related note, my mom likens my kid self to Pigpen from Charlie Brown, so there's that.

  3. I have the exact opposite issue. I can't keep mine out of the mud. LOL!!

  4. LOL, I am really sure you are not soley responsible at all! I really like all the pictures even if they didn't want to get muddy. The fact that you were willing to drive them around to find frogs in the first place says that you are letting them be who they are! Not many moms would even do that!

  5. I ruined my first two as well...and I grew up on a "farm"...what was I thinking?? But my second two...haleluja...they've been saved...two girls, who's hair is always out of place and are always dirty...especially because mey backyard looks like those pics, for real...I'm posting pics next week.

  6. LOVE all the different captions people came up with!! Love the muddy pictures and the story behind them!

  7. My mom tried for YEARS to get me to like gardening, to play in the dirt, to cut down the flowers for fall.... and now I HATE gardening. Well, I never actually liked it. I just know now that I never want to have a big garden like she does... well... maybe if she keeps it up for me.. then it might be okay hehe.

  8. So I am the sis in law, yes?? lol. Lesson learned. lol love you

  9. I think you might be being a little hard on yourself. My son doesn't like going to the beach with wet sand but can handle other types of dirt. My daughter doesn't mind wet sand but doesn't like regular dirt. It may be that they just didn't want to be muddy or just were feeling a little off. It's okay! You didn't ruin them.

  10. oh my.....what have you created??? ha! cole caught a nasty toad the other day, and i was freaked out cause he put it on his's just the girl in us!! their wives will appreciate us one day??

  11. Parts of this were really funny to me! I would think he would be all over that. I really wasn't expecting this story to follow. You haven't ruined them though. Waylon isn't yet 2 and doesn't like his foot getting stuck in the mud. I don't recall a time when I had ever yelled at him to get out of the mud, so I can't take credit for his hatred toward that adventure. When I say hatred I mean it. It was the hardest he has cried in a long time! They seem like really great kids who are taking advantage of being kids! But, this is really great advice!!!

  12. enjoyed your story and advice - nice to read before I head into work - have a great day!

  13. Your kids are far from ruined!!! I love the pictures and the story they tell it's beautiful!

  14. Please don't be hard on yourself. Every kid is different. My eldest is a clean freak while my baby just adores dirt/mud.

    I love all the captions. Such creative people!!

  15. I think maybe they've just outgrown their mud loving days. You've given them tons of adventures. And the fact that you fish with your family proves that you aren't afraid of yucky smelly dirty experiences!

    But your post does make me feel better about the fact that Orion ate food out of the garbage today...

  16. I'm a newbie mama, but I don't think you ruined them at all!

    This is a beautiful reflection on being a mom and all the crazy emotions and thoughts that go with it. You're a fantastic mom and you just need to keeping taking it one day at a time. That's all we can do, right?

  17. I have often wondered how much of these likes and dislikes is nature and how much is nurture....there are things for sure that mine don't like, and I can drive myself crazy with the "what-ifs"! I like to think that I exposed them to all things a kid should be exposed to, but at some point it's either too late to do it OR they've already made up their minds....

  18. Love the title! That looks like fun, my daughter would love it and my son might complain that he didn't want to get dirty, it depends what day it is. Beautiful pictures! I envy your skills.

  19. How heartbreaking.

    This is one of the more beautiful posts you've written.

    Really a mamapedia submission.

    You JUST must.

  20. P.S I love stopping here, your blog is such a quiet respite from all the noise of tweets and blogging and all that.

    It's just so quiet, pensive, meditative.

    You really have a stellar blog. Do you know that?