The Puddle Stomping Personality Test

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a store full of very breakable objects with a small boy.

Being a sensible sort, I left my friends and older kids to continue browsing and took my small boy outside.

We looked for things to do while the others smelled every scented candle in Lincoln, Nebraska.  This included running games…

thinking games…

and eventually led to…


Now, I knew puddle stomping would not be a particularly good idea on that particular day.

It was COLD out.  They were big puddles.  We didn’t have extra shoes, socks or pants.  Alex would get cold.

And he’d also get happy.

Life is short.

I let him stomp.

And stomp.

And stomp.

While Alex stomped, I noticed the reactions of people passing by.  There were three types:

1.  Those who were delighted at the sight and broke into big grins.

2.  Those who looked horrified, no doubt thinking how cold and wet he was going to be soon or what a mess he was making of himself.

3.  Those who were so busy they didn’t notice at all.

It was very interesting watching their faces!  Many of the second group looked around to spot me, no doubt thinking that I must not have noticed what he was up to.  I swear they wanted to yell at him themselves!

I loved watching the first group, and just felt a little sorry for the last group.  But mostly I just loved watching Alex in his absolute delight.

And I also knew that he was going to be wet and cold when he was finished, and we had a lot left to do in the day and no warm clothes.

Some parents would take this opportunity to teach him about “natural consequences” and let him be wet and cold and miserable for the rest of the day.  I’m not that sort of parent.  I didn’t want his fun to be at a price learned at the tender age of three about the steep price of having fun, mister.

The nice thing about outdoor malls is that there are lots of stores!  And while we get most of our clothes from thrift stores and garage sales, I know my way around a Gap well enough to know that there’s almost always something on clearance.

So when our friends were finished, we made a quick stop for a rather darling, warm pair of striped pants at the unbeatable price of $2.99 and he was nearly good as new.

(Okay, he went bare footed for a while and I carried his shoes.  Shoes were a lot more than 2.99!)

I love those pants now.  They remind me of a joyful afternoon and the sort of mama I strive to be.  And the sort of passer-by.  🙂



Filed under happy stuff

21 responses to “The Puddle Stomping Personality Test

  1. I love this. Beautiful.

  2. 🙂 This post made me smile. Yeah for the stomping!

  3. Alexis

    Thank you for being so open with your motherhood journey:)

  4. Christine

    You are an amazing mother!

  5. What a great story and a great reminder. You are just the sort of mama I am trying to be too. We get glimpses of it know and then and I really like when I’m that mama!

  6. yep that rocks! I am with you here….

  7. Love this! On our last day of preschool some of our kids were frolicking in the mud (ie tipping pans of mud on their heads) when a family arrived to have a look around the preschool. Uh oh, I said to my Director. “Don’t worry” she said, “We will soon find out what they think about getting dirty at preschool” From the looks on their faces, I don’t think they will be asking for an enrolment form anytime soon!

  8. Eli

    This is lovely. You’re so right – life is too short to not stomp in puddles, climb the trees or sniff the flowers along our way (even with hayfever!). We live in a place where most people won’t even let their kids outside when it rains, and I will make sure to publish this article to as many of them as possible! :0)

  9. amanda

    Love this. I too am the type of mom to let my kid explore as long as he is not hurting anyone or anything I figure it is good for his development. My son is very curious and I hate to stifle his curious mind. Thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes I feel alone when the people passing by are making their horrified faces.

  10. Shannon

    A great reminder for me, as fall approaches and the puddles and piles of wet muddy leaves call to my little boy. I’m somewhere between the first and second group of people, but I strive to be firmly in the first!

  11. Shannon

    Of course, what helps me immensely to have that kind of laxity and spontaneity is that from beach weather to winter weather, I almost always carry a complete change of clothes in the bottom of my backpack!

  12. amy

    I never missed a puddle stomping opportunity !!! In fact, enjoyed that wet squishy feeling in my shoes HA

  13. Pingback: This is the kind of mother I want to be | The World of Jo and Luke

  14. Shawnna

    I love this!! It is just what I needed to read today 🙂

  15. I love your post. You make me feel better about myself. I was resently in the city with a friend and the 7 kids we had between us found a fountain to cool to resist. We spent the rest of the day with clothes draped all over the strollers to dry and kids wearing our jummpers as makesift skirts or simmply showing off their nappies, it was warm.

  16. katherine marie

    Let us all be a number ONE TYPE watcher… the delights of childhood are so wonderful!!! Thanks for the wonderful reminder. 🙂

  17. wm

    That is so nice. I remember spending about a half hour on the side of the road when my child discovered puddles for the first time. It is a special joy.

  18. Cheryl

    I love this! I am trying to be this kind of mom, thanks for being a great example.

  19. Caitlyn

    “He’d get happy too”

    YES! These words will stay in my head! This is a beautiful reminder.

    I think those three groups of people apply to almost everything kids get up to in public… or even to kids in in general. The first group delights, the second group needs to control it, can’t just enjoy it, and the third group isn’t noticing very much at all.

  20. LOVE! This is why I read your blogs – because this is the kind of mama I want to be.

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