the sandbox

We have a sandbox in our backyard.  It’s a pretty popular place to play for our younger kids.  It will keep them occupied for quite a long time.  The things they build, the imagination play that they come up with…well, you just can’t beat a sandbox sometimes.  They LOVE our sandbox, and we’ve had it for many years.
It can be a bit messy, however…
Now, you might be interested to know that Rich and I are complete polar opposites when it comes to coping with kids’ messes.   I’m much more laid back, and he’s….well, let’s just say he’s the exact opposite of laid back.   The kids’ sandbox days are always followed with a short nagging from daddy.   Always.  No matter how hard we try to clean up, he will always find something that’s amiss.  We’ve just learned to accept this as one of daddy’s “quirks” and focus on all the other awesomeness that he has (and he has a lot of awesomeness!)
The things that bother my husband about the sandbox:
when the kids bring water into the sandbox–
I let them bring buckets of water into the sandbox, but he doesn’t.  He doesn’t like the mess of “wet sand” — but yet, how do you build a sandcastle out of dry sand?  You can’t!  See, I understand this, so I let the kids use water in the sandbox.  And yes, it gets messy.  But so what!!  They are having fun.   But Rich will say, “Come on, Guys….no water in the sandbox!  Wet sand is harder to sweep up off the concrete.”  
And I roll my eyes.
— when the kids get sand all over their clothes from sitting in the sand–
Well, this is going to happen.  There’s really no way around it.  How can you “play” in a sandbox and not get sand on your clothes?  You can’t!!  And I couldn’t care less about sandy clothes.  I have the kids shake off on the grass before coming into the house.  Do they get every single tiny grain of sand off their clothing?  No.  Does some of it end up in the house?  Yes!  But do I care?  NO!!  So what if a few grains of sand get into the house!!  That is what brooms and vacuums were invented for.  But Rich will nag, “Guys…come on now.  Shake off the sand before you come into the house!”  and they will say, “But dad, we did!” and he will say, “Then why is there sand all over the kitchen floor?!!”  and then they will all rush over to the kitchen floor to look for sand, including me.  “Where?  Where do you see sand?” I will ask.  And I swear he will pick up a few microscopic grains and show me, “You see? Sand.  Sand belongs outside.”
And I will roll my eyes.
— when the kids get sand around the surrounding areas of the yard instead of keeping the sand in the sandbox–
Okay, how impossible does that sound?  Really.  There is NO WAY the kids can keep every single grain of sand INSIDE that sandbox.  When they dig some sand gets onto the cement, some in the planters, some on the grass….WHO CARES??  Not me.  But Rich does.   He will nag the kids, “Guys…come on now.  Let’s keep the sand INSIDE the sandbox.”   which is always followed by a heavy sigh.

And I roll my eyes.

And yeah, in case you are wondering, he does see me rolling my eyes.  He knows that I think he’s a bit much.  And I know that he thinks I’m a bit too laid back.  It’s just one of those things in marriage that we’ve accepted about one another.   We don’t see eye to eye on every little thing.  And that’s okay.  We are both good parents, and we know that about each other.  So it’s all good.

But in the case of the sandbox, the kids love ME best…because I’m the cool parent who doesn’t worry so much about the mess, or about the few grains of sand that make it into the house!  It just makes me feel good to know that they are having a good time, that they are getting along (for the most part) and that they are staying outside while giving me some peace and quiet inside.  And hey, I’m not going to lie, the peace and quiet is my favorite part!  It’s worth every single little grain of sand that makes its way inside the house!


  1. Anonymous says

    I feel that this article has a strong bias and does not fairly represent both sides of this issue. Rich should be allowed to write a rebuttal! 😉

    • says

      Ha! I wish Rich would write a rebuttal. That would be fun. But he won’t. It’s just not his thing to write or even read blogs. He actually doesn’t even read MY blog!

  2. says

    Your eye roll = Mrs. C’s “You’re a jerk!”

    I hate sand in the house and I would hate it anywhere outside the sand box, but come on…you need water to play with sand.

    • says

      sand in the house…no one “likes” but you sweep it up and it’s a done deal, and the same for sand outside of the box. I don’t feel the need to nag the kids constantly about it. It’s just a waste of time because they are little and it IS going to happen, so why fight it? And yeah, you do need water to play with sand! That’s just a no-brainer. And for the record, I love Mrs. C and her occasional “You’re a jerk!” comments aimed at you :)

  3. Sharon M. says

    I love your sandbox, but how do you keep the cats out of it? Maybe your husband can put in a pool, or an outdoor shower, so the kids could strip down to bathing suits and leave the sand outside. I always loved the time that the kids spent outside playing. win win, for all involved (and not involved,enjoying the quiet inside the house). By the way, your kids are gorgeous!!

    • says

      We have NO cats in our neighborhood due to wild coyotes that wander from the nearby hills to look for rabbits and other small animals — cats do not last long here!

  4. says

    I just read your comment on kelle hampton’s blog and was super touched by it. My mom (65) got a letter a few years from a girl who stood by and watched my mother being bullied and he had to get it off her chest because it had haunted her for decades. Ironically, my mother didn’t even remember the incident and assured the woman she had a nice life. I tell my 8th grade students that story because lots of research says the most effective way to stop bullying is for bystanders to stick up for the bullied, so I love your story. I also am touched with your heartfelt admission of not going all the way to be kind. What a fabulous lesson you have to teach your children. cheers..Sarah

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