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Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday of Munsch - Mud Puddle

How many of you had parents that were insistent that you didn't get dirty?  Raise your hands right now.

Yes, I have to admit, I was one of those kids who had parents (well, okay, a mother) who absolutely freaked out if I got any good clothes dirty.  I didn't understand why there was such an outcry when I was a kid.  My eight-year-old brain told me that you put clothes inside of a washing machine with some Sunlight (my family's then preferred laundry soap), and the clothes would instantly become clean.  It's not until I became an adult that laundry became much more complex, and I sort of understood why Mom was the way she was when it came to clothes.

Though you try telling a natural slob to stay out of the dirt and mud!

I'll be the first to confess, I was a sloppy kid.  Hell, I'm a sloppy adult.  To be honest with you, I don't consider it a bad thing to be that way.  I have a hard time trying to function in a room that is perfectly clean with everything being in perfect order.  If I am ever in a room that pristine, it would take everything in me not to disorganize it.  I wonder if that could be considered reverse OCD.  I don't really know for sure as I have no psychological training in the subject, but I don't see a little mess as being a bad thing.

I mean, it's not like I've ever appeared on "Hoarders" or anything.  I'm not THAT bad!

But still, the very idea of children getting dirty is an irrational fear that a lot of parents have...and I'll explain why I think it's irrational in a little while. 

But first, I'll explain why I brought up dirt in the first part of this blog.  This month, I've been doing Munsch Mondays in celebration of one of my favourite children's authors, Robert Munsch, and today's featured story is a very special one.

The reason it's so special?  It was the first book that Munsch had published.  The first editions of this book came out all the way back in 1979 - that was before I was even born!  And yet it's delighted at least three generations of fans ever since.

Yes, it's time to talk about the book "Mud Puddle".

I don't think there's been any child that hasn't had the urge to go puddle splashing after a sudden rainstorm.  There's always such a thrill that one gets when they slip on their raincoats and galoshes and splish splash away.  And, I have to admit, when it comes down to mud puddles, the temptation is even harder to resist.

But what happens when the situation is reversed and instead of you seeking out the mud puddle, the mud puddle tries to catch you?

Well, for the protagonist of our story - Jule Ann - it is a very real struggle for her.  And it's one that has her spending a lot of time in the bathtub.

You see, any time Jule Ann decided to wear a brand new outfit, her mother always told her not to go near any mud puddles.  Unfortunately, a gigantic mud puddle would always ambush her - usually hiding up in the middle of a tall tree.  I know what you're thinking.  It's absolutely impossible for mud puddles to have a mind of their own, let alone being able to surprise unsuspecting little girls wearing their best dresses.  But then again, Robert Munsch always was a man who had the most creative imagination.

No matter what Jule Ann tried to do, the mud puddle would always be one step ahead of her.  And no matter how badly she tried to escape, the mud puddle made sure that the only fun Jule Ann would have would be in the bathtub, scrubbing all of the dirt off of herself.

I wonder if she was related to the girl from Purple, Green, and Yellow?

It actually takes a little bit of ingenuity for Jule Ann to finally get one over on the mud puddle...and I'm sure most of you reading this know exactly how she does it.  And let's just say that the way she does it makes sure she gets a "clean" getaway.  But I can't say much more than that.  After all, there are still a lot of people out there that haven't heard this story yet, and who am I to spoil it?

But remember how I said that a little dirt was a good thing?  I still maintain that to be true.

In a world where anti-bacterial soap seems to have almost become as daily of a ritual as coffee consumption, I actually think that there is such a thing as being too clean.  Scientific studies have actually shown that kids who are more exposed to dirt develop stronger immune systems than those who are essentially trapped in a prison built by Mr. Clean.  Now while this is no excuse to turn your palace into Oscar the Grouch's trash can, it is an argument for letting your kids play in the mud once in a while.

I mean, bad can it be?

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