Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Essence of Childhood

Last Friday, Wichita was granted an ice storm. It was crazy to watch the trees slowly droop closer and closer to the ground. It was even crazier to walk out in the storm and feel all the tiny little pellets of ice hitting you all over the head.

Saturday brought a blizzard to cover up the ice. I don't know what the technical amount was...but it seemed like a lot of snow. Especially for one morning at the end of March. But don't worry...by 6pm the sun was shining, it was warming up, and a lot of the snow was already disappearing.

While it was snowing out Molly and I ventured out to play a little and to make snow angels. We each made one. But it wasn't very fun for either of us because the snow was coming down pretty quickly and getting in our faces. But I even helped Molly find and eat her first icicle. How fun! I remember eating snow and icicles as a kid. Ahh..the innocence...and then at some point some big kid comes along and tells you that some dog peed in that snow or something awful like that. And suddenly, it's like your innocence is stolen, you grow up and quit eating and/or drinking water outdoors unless it comes from a bottle, a cup, or a drinking fountain.

When we went out, at first, it was pretty windy, and Molly didn't really like the snow pelleting her in the face. Here was one extra breezy moment.

But after a while she got the hang of walking through snow that came all the way up to her sweet little knees and really started enjoying it.

THEN...as I said, the sun came out and melted all the snow. It is now Tuesday and the yard is still drenched. My flower beds that I had began getting ready to plant into are oozy gooey mud.

Yesterday we got home from running some errands and I took Molly out of the car and let her down to do as she pleased while I unloaded the groceries. I left her out in the yard while I put away the milk. Then went back out to gather her because we had about five more errands to run. Here is how I found her.

I think she must have stepped into the mud, got stuck, and fell down. Because she didn't seem too happy about it at first. She was even more upset when she noticed I was taking pictures.

Eventually, she began to enjoy squishing the mud in between her fingers though. And painting her clothes with it.

And yes, she even had to see how some mudpies tasted. She didn't stop with just one taste, so it must not have been too awful.

Mostly, I was so proud of myself. For encouraging her to explore the environments around her in the snow and the mud. See it, smell it, listen to it, touch it, and if you must - taste it. My first thought when seeing her sitting in the mud crying was to get her out as quick as possible. But as she cried a little harder, I started laughing as I realized there would be nothing quick about this. She was covered in mud, and it was going to take a long while to clean it all up. So I decided at that moment that the errands could be put off another day. (It's not like I hadn't already put them off several days to get to this point.) And decided to show her how to enjoy the mud. I ran back inside quickly, changed out of my work clothes into some sweats and ran back out with my camera ready to show her how to squish. And she did! And she loved it! And I think most exciting of all for her was that she ended up getting to be naked outside!!! - Every one year old's greatest desire!

(And even more excitement - Richard ended up taking care of my errands after he got home - and even brought me home a bag a Reese's eggs to "thank me for everything I do." Awwww!!!)