The sensation of smelling is one of the senses that often gets forgotten or over looked. The others are easy; the toy market makes it this way by selling toys that stimulate sight and sound with interactive buttons. Books are sold with touch and feel pages. The sense of smell however is often ignored, perhaps it just isn't as easy to manufacture, but no need for you to worry, like most things you don't need to run out and buy a toy to achieve a certain goal. Chances are you have just what you need in your home or backyard and if not an excursion to the shops or the park will fix the problem and you won't even have to purchase anything!
One of my favourite things to do for Lachlan when he was a newborn was to get salt shakers and fill it with something fragrant. I often cut a sprig of lavender or rosemary from my garden for use. He loved the surprise he would get when I held the shaker up to his nose. It wasn't too long before he was making little baby pig sniffing noises. Cinnamon sticks, crushed cardamon pods and star anise are also really great too. You can also place a drop of scented oil on a tissue to put in the shaker if you don't have a lot of spices in the house. Not everyone is Martha Stewart, after all. I often just go on an little scent exploration in my yard or neighborhood to find different things. Rose petals, frangipani, jasmine and lilac all have very pleasant scents and are all easy to find depending on where you live.
When your child is older letting him explore the great outdoors is a great way to exercise the ol' nostrils. We get an array of smells as we walk to the park. Some often coming from our dog, Maxwell as he leaves little presents for me to pick up; but you got to learn early that not all things in life are pleasant! Ever since we visited Europe, Lachlan has been very keen on smelling flowers.It was spring time there so there was a lot in bloom, especially in France where there were irises growing in plenty. I don't particularly care for the smell of purple irises but none the less I entertained Lachlan and stuck my nose in every one we passed to make him happy. I smelled so many dandelions in Krakow in fact that it wasn't until a half and hour train ride later that someone told me that I had a yellow nose! He's gotten to the point now that when we read a story and he sees a flower, he presses his nose against the book and starts to sniff. (Really, how adorable is that? I just love watching him learn and grow!)
Gardens are fully of interesting smells to perk up a bub's nose. I've loved to garden since I was a young child back in Indiana, USA. I always had a small veggie patch and my parents were good at letting me experience the growing process from start to finish without interfering. It was a good lesson. I planted the seeds and watched them grow. If I forgot to water the garden, I quickly learned just what the hot Indiana sun would do. If I neglected the garden, weeds would grow and drown out my mini crop. Gardening is also good for fussy eaters (though I can't say it helped me too much as I was VERY fussy!) I did however, try everything that I planted, so that is a good thing. I remember planting a lot of green peppers which I still hate to this day; but looking back that must have been an influence from my mom as I recall her liking stuffed bell peppers--that or she just made them because I kept growing them; who knows! The tradition of gardening continues. We have a lovely vegetable patch in our backyard along with a orange, lemon and an apricot tree. Lachlan reaps the rewards and the fruit of labour that his daddy and I put into the garden. Someday, he'll be able to join in. He's already showing an interest; he likes to smell the basil and mint and it won't be long until winter is over and he can help plant new seeds. A garden is a wonderful place for a child. There is lemon grass to smell, fresh mulch to feel and of course lots of wiggly and crawly critters to see. Our garden always hosts large garden spiders with beautiful fluorescent yellow stripes and often a blue-tongue lizard will come for a visit from the reserve across the road. It won't be long until Lachlan will be introduced to the worm farm we have. How fun is that? I loved worms as a kid!
If you don't grow your own veggies or flowers, take a trip to the shop and sit your toddler in the shopping cart to share in the experience with you. Lachlan loves it when we visit the produce aisle or go to the farmer's market. We stop and smell the oranges, cantaloupe and lycees. He feels the furry kiwis and prickly pineapples. If there are fresh flowers we have a little sniff. The shop becomes a fun and engaging experience and you don't even have to buy anything if you don't want.
So the next time you are out and about, don't forget to smell the roses...or irises; whichever you prefer. A sniffer is a wonderful thing so don't neglect it. Plan some smelly time with your child. His nose will thank you and you might thank yourself too. After all, what overworked mom couldn't use a good sniff of relaxing lavender, eh? You could even put some in bubs room to see if he'll sleep better. Now don't get too excited, but you never know! Until next time, Happy Sniffing!