Tuesday, June 21, 2011

All wet

Some delightful neighborhood children were at our house playing yesterday afternoon, and since the weather was hot, I sent the children outside, where they belong. As I said, it was hot. And my kids aren't fools--they know how to cool off! In no time at all, L and J had turned on the hose and were positively rejoicing in the spray of water. They took turns making rainbows with the water spray, playing "limbo" under the stream from the hose nozzle, and spraying each other like crazy.

The neighborhood girls tentatively joined in and a game of "who can get the wettest" soon followed. Of course, within minutes all children were soaked through and through. Completely wrung-out, fell-into-a-lake wet. There was much smiling and laughter coming from the backyard. Until the neighbor kids' mom arrived.

Suffice it to say, she was not happy. Her children were drenched, and despite my offer to send them home in dry clothes, she promptly shooed them out of my back yard and they marched off down the street. No terse words were exchanged, but the sound of her voice and the look on her face when she arrived said plenty. Then, when her own daughter sprayed her, I had to stifle a giggle myself.


Now, granted, I probably should have called to check with her before letting the kids play with the hose. (Should I have?) But in my opinion, a little spontaneous water play is a perfectly harmless thing-one of the great childhood joys. Remember those days, when summer was hot, and you were hot, and you just had to cool off, so you got in the pool, or the pond, or ran through a neighbor's sprinkler, clothes and all? Planning ahead, changing into swimsuits, these things all have their time and place, but really, when it comes right down to it, half the fun is the feeling of "getting away with something" and getting wet in your clothes, isn't it? These kids were having a great time, and feeling a little mischevious, which makes it all that much better.

When was the last time YOU got your clothes wet? It's something we adults avoid at all costs-think of the pains we take to stay dry: umbrellas, raincoats, dashing from car to house or parking lot to grocery store, newspaper over our heads to protect us from the rain. What's the harm in water?

Why not take a lesson from our children and savor the feeling of spontaneity?

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