Today, my three years old daughter played with sand, officially, for the first time.
What do you mean? You probably think.
Sand is a ‘must’ activity for babies and children, best to explore the different texture and feels, we all know that. All nursery and kids group offer. Family goes to the beach. Right? So why now?
My daughter was born blind, with a rare condition called Peter’s Anomaly. (→read past post) There was no cure. Only option to give her eye sight was cornea transplant, which carried a very high risk for baby. Success rate of the operation was told less than 50 %. Many doctors, for instance in Japan I hear, won’t recommend the operation. We were lucky to have met one of the best corneal surgeons in Europe and op went successful. Yet the risk remains high as the rejection of cornea can occur anytime in her life.
Cut it short, she was band from sand play. It was too high risk for her eye condition. Well, sand itself isn’t but if sand gets into a toddler’s eye, the first thing they would do is to rub, which would probably scar the surface of cornea and can result in infection that leads to the rejection. Doctor also said that can be risky.
Although we did not wish her to be eliminated from other children and opportunities, we did not think it was worth taking the risk at the nursery either, where the staff ratio wasn’t enough to watch her at all times whilst other children might “flick” a spade of sand anytime without intentions due to the lack of control because of their age. Even if you tell your little one “be careful” or “try not to rub”, they cannot quite do that. Certainly when she was much younger.
We might have been over protective. I once thought I was a mean mum for not letting her play in the sand. But weighing between fun exploring and risk of losing her eye, we could not stress any further, especially having considered how far we came from the start. So there was no argue about it.
So what happened today? Well it was not a planned action, but went absolutely wonderfully. Where I work, henshaws arts & crafts centre, provides so-called urban beach during the local town summer festival. In the middle of our centre garden, once a year, we get tons of sand brought in and beach appears in the middle of Yorkshire!
(and it looks like this!)
Our beach has been so popular, particularly for family with children with no doubt. Today I brought my daughter for a walk in our garden, not particularly for the beach, but reluctantly asked her if she wants to try with me. There was no way she was going near the beach. I felt bad again but thought she’s probably learnt not to go near the sand by now.
Then we came cross the small amount of sand laid near the back gate that probably was the residual from the process of making the beach. She then slowly touched the sand. Then wiggled her hand through the sand, lifted it and sprinkled it. Her face turned into a tremendous joy. “Mummy, sand! sand!” I asked if she wants to try taking her shoes off. Oh, she loved the feel. Absolutely loved it. “Mummy, do it like this!” She tells me how to play with sand. “Come and take your shoes off!” “Look, my feet!” I nearly cried. Obviously I still had to closely monitor her not to get sand near her eyes. But she did very well. She was playing in the quiet small land of sand for a good few hours. I even suggested if she wants to try the big beach with me, but her answer was still no. “Big beach for everybody, this is for Sabrina.” She was just so happy there. So we played in the tiny sand beach, just me and her with two pairs of bare feet.
Maybe I waited too long. Maybe I was over cautious. Anyway she made a sand debut. A great one. mx