Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Water Play

This morning we went to a new (to us) park just a few minutes away.  We don't venture to nearby parks much because we have a playground where we live and a park with in walking distance but this morning called for something special as we had multiple errands to run (which is a recipe for disaster with us.)  In Trader Joe's I had several women mention, so sweetly, how they loved his energy or wished they woke up that happy and full of life.  This was before 8:30am.  Did I mention I'm not drinking coffee any more either?  And I greatly dislike loud noisy wild mornings even if I am caffeinated? So I am just trying to smile sweetly and keep up with him because I know there is no way he can get down to my level... (For the record this is what it is like everyday.  We love each other but we are different from each other in fundamental ways that really interfere with us enjoying each other.  I'm pushing myself, struggling, to be more 'up' instead of trying so hard to bring him down to my level any more.  I know this is good for me and for him.  But, people, I am tired!)

After surviving that and a stop by the thrift store to unload a few days worth of stuff we head off to the park.  Of course, Anjali falls asleep on the way.  Poor girl, she hardly ever gets a decent nap but she forgives us and loves us (and adores him particularly) despite it all.

E and I park the car in the shade and get out to eat a snack while she sleeps a few more precious minutes.  I see a better place to park to be closer to the playground but the entrance is from another street so we go on a adventure to find it.  When we park he bounds off to the playground and I try to get her into the stroller still sleeping without success.

The playground is pretty lame and completely without a spot for me to sit inside the play area.  They do have swings so at least Anjali can wake up to her favorite thing.  Running in front of the playgound was a tiny stream, no more than 2 or 3 inches deep, bubbling happily along.  Emerson was instantly there.  I took off Anjali's shoes but she was unimpressed.  Fearful almost.  We scooted back from the edge and watched E for a few minutes as she crept slowly closer.  Toes in grass, toes in mud, toes finally in water.  It was magical as I realized it was her first stream experience.  Last year she was too small and there hadn't been any good chance for it yet this year.

Eventually she was sitting in the water, sorting rocks as Emerson used the "Utah raptor toe claw fossil" he discovered to make underground streams.  We stayed a while longer.  I'd left my phone home so I couldn't keep track of time or take pictures.  The sky was perfect blue, the leaves on the trees all colors of bright yellow and green, looking young and fresh.We were all wet and muddy by the end.

The rest of our day was calm and easy (even the unhappy parts) and we got along very well together.  We've fought with him about water for 3 years.  Hand washing is always such an ordeal.  Using too much soap (like the whole dispenser), water flooding the floors, all over the walls.  I've always thought of the woods as our happy place, and thought it had mostly to do with the sticks and rocks, but now I am realizing it might have been the streams, the water, more than anything else.  Something in his little body needs to touch and play with the water.  Hands and feet in, no distractions, time disappears, defiance pacifies.

In the past I have sporadically set up water play at home (for years we had a sand and water table.)  It won't be sporadic any more.  It will be deliberate and regular.  It is amazing what one precious day can teach.  

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