Sunday, 15 April 2012

Getting Dirty at Easter

It has become a bit of a tradition for us to go to the mountains each Easter to walk, camp and put our thoughts back in a straight line. Knowing that overnight hiking with a 6 month old, in a (barely) two man tent might be pushing it, we opted for a slightly less adventurous trip. So much fun was had! 
Lake Eildon provided the serene setting, and baby Elijah had his first trip in a speed boat. He still doesn't know what to think of it.
I had decided that this trip would be the prefect time for me to freely allow Elijah to eat whatever dirt, leaves, stones and the like that he wanted to. As it happened, this was extremely hard. I frequently found myself saying "quick he's got another mouthful of leaves", and reaching to scoop them out of his mouth. Although we don't use chemical cleaners, detergents or antibacterials in our home, we still live a relatively sterile lifestyle for the development of natural immunity. I have come to realise that if you want to promote the exposure of your baby to normal bugs and critters, then you need to make this a priority with your lifestyle. I have dubbed this prescription for baby and childhood immunity 'Take Your Baby Camping!'. As much as I would LOVE to be camping every day, what I really mean is create 'dirt time' for you and your kids every day. If we are to prevent the Hygiene Hypothesis from effecting the developing immunity of our children, and reduce the risk of allergies, then getting friendly with the neighbourhood bugs is essential. I think for us this will mean, regular camping trips, bushwalking, playing in gardens, hanging at the park and of course staying away from all those chemical cleaners. I am very proud to say that in our four days away no soap was used, just good ol' fashioned water and "brush it off". 

The other most interesting discovery to me over Easter was the unfamiliar world of disposable nappies. As devout cloth nappy-ers for environmental, financial and health reasons we have not had the cause to use disposable nappies for any length of time. We reluctantly decided it would be easier for this trip to use disposable, but I have since read this post by Motherwho which inspires me to take our cloth nappies next time for sure! Firstly, I spent at least ten minutes starring at the selection in the supermarket, completely bamboozled by the price and choice. Then I was astounded at how little you need to change them. They are so absorbent. No wonder toilet training is harder when using disposable nappies, they don't feel wet. I was certainly glad to get home to the familiarity of my daily nappy washing routine, and I'm sure Elijah's bottom was pleased to get back into his soft bamboo.
In other Easter news, babies sleep well in backpacks, good friends make great walking companions (we always knew that one!) and early morning sunshine requires Dad's sunglasses.

We are still getting used to packing for a trip where we don't have to carry everything for days, and will definitely be adding a guitar and our hammock to the list for the next trip! Here's a recipe to remember for next year - kindly given to me by Good Friend Soph

Fabulously Free Hot Cross Buns
Gluten/Dairy/Sugar Free, and filled with everything good at Easter!

300g Almond Meal
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp Bicarb soda
1/4 cup Grapeseed oil or Ricebran Oil
2 tbs Honey
1/2 tsp Vanilla bean paste or Real Vanilla Extract
2 Free Range Eggs
Pinch Cinnamon
Rind of 1 Orange
80g Sultanas/Currents
50g Dark Chocolate Melted

Mix all ingredients well and form into balls. Make cross with icing or a mixture of flour and water. Place on grease proof paper on a baking tray and bake in 180 degrees Celsius oven for 20-30mins or until golden and smelling Easter-y. 

Hope you all had a peace filled Easter, and can plan some dirt playing time for your little ones soon.

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