The sandbox is the worst. We can still argue about vaccines, organic food and attachment parenting, but can we all as parents, as humans, agree on this one little thing? The sandbox is the worst.
That doesn’t mean my kids don’t play in it. They love their giant litter box. They’d roll around and make sand angels in it, if it were large enough. Unfortunately for them, it’s too small for that variety of filthy fun. So they mostly just stick to throwing it in each others hair and dumping it all over the patio.
Every time we go outside, that stupid green turtle laughs at me. He mocks me from a distance as if to remind me that there’s no way I can avoid immersing my children into his grimey dusty ring of hell. “HAHA – guess it’s bath night!” He chides.
He’s right. He smirks while they beg me to play in the sandbox, and I relent. “I only said yes because they’ll play happily for at least 30 minutes.” I snap at his smug, green, sun-faded face. Why do all the fun things have to be so dirty? Why can’t my kids love organizing my closet, folding laundry or a quiet game of parcheesi?
The sandbox wins every time, and good luck enforcing any sandbox rules you may try to establish in order to minimize the horrific nature of sandbox play. Sand will be thrown. Sand will end up everywhere in your home. Sand will end up in diapers, hair and every conceivable orifice. Despite not even playing in the sandbox, it will somehow end up in your bra. Sand cannot be contained.
If the sand can’t be contained, then why not just embrace it? Arguably I am, since it’s finding its way into my bra. I believe that sand, like children, needs boundaries.
“Sand stays in the sandbox” is a funny little rule I made up when we first got that trite turtle. As a rule it makes sense, but it’s funny because once you hand a toddler a shovel and bucket and then set them in a plastic pit filled with tiny dusty rocks, they’re taking that filled bucket for a walk. 100% of the time. Then it’s anyone’s guess which toy will be the next lucky recipient of a sand shower.
“Don’t throw the sand” is a necessary rule that is exhausting to enforce. It’s a little easier for the four-year-olds to comply, but when little dude fills his chubby little paws with what appears to be hundreds of tiny balls, it’s airborne in a hot second. It’s some kind of overpowering, irresistible impulse that little boys have, which means a majority of my sandbox supervision involves sand throwing time-outs. I’m clearly ineffective at explaining to a one-year-old how much better we could all get a long better without microscopic pieces of rocks in our eyes.
Despite my long list of complaints and loathsome distaste for our sand-filled reptile, there is no denying how effective the sandbox is at occupying my children. As long as you continue to provide mostly uninterrupted entertainment for my wild brood, I’ll suffer the inconveniences and allow you to reside on my patio. I tolerate you, sandbox, but you’re still the worst.