As babies and toddlers, neither of my boys especially enjoyed being dirty and playing in the mud. I still remember the first time Rondel explored the soil in our garden of his own accord, and the poignancy of watching him touch the moist dirt without panic or revulsion (he was better with sand, but dirt was difficult, and mud impossible for a long time). Limerick would tolerate and investigate things, but never sought out the sensations, preferring to watch and observe; there wasn’t the overt sense of something being off or abnormal that there had been with Rondel, but there also wasn’t the “typical” childhood pleasure of immersing oneself in those physical sensations that I remembered from my own experiences.
Aubade, however, actively seeks out the dirt, and very visibly relishes getting wet, dirty, and muddy. While this of course comes with its own challenges (any ideas for persuading a baby not to shovel fistfuls of dirt in her mouth whenever the opportunity arises?), it is so incredibly refreshing for me to have a baby who initiates that kind of interaction with her environment. She is so bent on exploring and experiencing the world around her, with no hesitations, anxieties, or sensory discomforts to hold her back, and I love watching her!