Today it took the two of us an hour to make a 10 minute journey home after our mother and toddler group. child 4 must have explored every puddle, every mud bath, the piles of old brown leaves disintegrating along the stone walls and hedgerows. He collected sticks and used them to dig at the pools of mud waving globs of the sticky goo in the air, then laughing when they flew off the end and went splat on the path. For each step forward we must have taken at least two back. Many people walked by, many smiling at the antics of my little explorer, some stopped to chat, all saying how great it must be to be a toddler with all the time in the world to just look, prod and poke, to explore and enjoy the wonders that are literally at our feet.
Even knowing that I have washing, ironing, cleaning and dinner to make I can't help but enjoy these moments watching him learn how things work by just playing. He does not consider failure in his exploration, he is oblivious to what he is wearing or what he looks like, he is just enjoying the now. Me, I watch and I plan, how can we make swishy swishy grass? maybe we should let a corner of grass in our garden grow really, really tall. Would a bubble machine work as the swirling, whirling snowstorm, could we build an obstacle course out of branches for the deep dark forest, so that we could stumble trip through it and what would make a narrow gloomy cave, the tippee tent stored in the attic or child 3's play house? We certainly have enough teddy bears to be the bear. A perfect idea for a late summer birthday party - even the food could have a bear theme, bear shaped sandwiches, cookies, crisps and cakes and honey filled delights. Or what about a trip to our favourite beach after a wet or stormy week, there we will find a grassy path leading us from the car park to the beach, a river leading to the sea, mud flats to carefully squelch through, woodland and briar patches on the cliff top, and caves to explore. Hmmm what fun to be a child again.