Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Inktober/Blogtober Crossover: Day 23

A lot of people have an issue with mess.  I, however, am somewhere weirdly in the middle, between "NEAT FREAK" and "COVER THE PLACE WITH HANDPRINTS."  It really depends on the circumstances.

Today's Inktober prompt word is "muddy" and it made me instantly think back to my childhood.  I was one of those kids who was more than happy to sit on the ground, making mud pies.  I would pick flowers and leaves and stir them into water to make "perfume," then splash it around.  I loved to mix paints together to see what new colours I could make.  Basically, the messier the activity, the better.

As an adult, I still love a bit of "messy play" at work.  Years ago, I worked at a pre-school that used to hold an annual "Messy Day," where the children (and staff) were encouraged to come wearing their oldest, tattiest clothes and we'd flick paint at paper that was hung up outside, we'd throw cooked, coloured pasta and jelly at each other and we'd make gloop and let it dribble through our fingers.  It was all about sensory play and letting go and just being silly, for a change.  It was one of my favourite days of the year.

But, like I said, it depends on the circumstances.  If I know I'm going to get muddy or otherwise messy, I'm totally up for it.  I'll put on some old clothes and  dive straight in.  If I don't know I'm going to end up messy, I'm the first person to reach for wet-wipes, trying to clean myself up.  I like things to be relatively neat and tidy around me and that includes, well... myself.  I'm all for getting myself muddy, or covered in paint or whatever, but I need to be prepared for it.

The thing is, working with children, I see an awful lot of youngsters who just aren't allowed to get messy and that makes me sad.  There is something glorious about putting on a very old, tatty item of clothing and just letting yourself get splashed with paint, or smothered in mud.  If the clothes are old and rubbish anyway and you don't fancy washing them, just chuck them in the bin!  Skin washes up clean and a long, hot bath or shower isn't exactly a hardship.

The reason I loved Messy Day so much was because it was just so liberating.  There was no sense of "we mustn't do X, Y or Z, because it's against the rules," or "I have to stay neat and tidy."  For an hour or so, we ran around in the sunshine (Messy Day was usually in July), throwing gloop at one another and flicking paint to make pictures, without caring how much of it splattered back onto us.  We were free to be as silly as we wanted.  I passionately believe all children should be allowed to do that once in a while.  

So thank you, Inktober, for the prompt word "Muddy."  You've brought back some fabulous memories.  I think next time it rains, I'll have to put on my wellies and go squelching around in the mud for a while. 

After all, we should all be free to be messy, from time to time.

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