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…
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.
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.