Aadit and I were returning from his class, when we passed a little park. I looked at the gates and it brought back many fond memories. I had spent practically every evening in this place when he was an infant. I used to walk the pram as he stared around wide-eyed marveling at the new world he had entered into. The park only had a small walking track which was good enough for infants, but not for energetic toddlers. I thus took him to other places now, for our evening outings. Places that had swings and slides and provided an outlet for the never ending energy of my child.
Now, that July evening, I stopped my car in front of the park. The air was moist with rain. I thought of taking a little peek inside, just to relive those old days and visit the place where I had spent many a happy evening with other new mothers. “I’ll just be gone two minutes’ I told the driver.
We were greeted by a large puddle of water (thanks to the incessant rains) as soon as we entered the park. Aadit shrieked with delight as he ran towards the puddle. He put one leg in and tested the waters. Then in went his other leg. When he was sure of safety, there was nothing holding him back. “Splashy Splashy” he cried as he jumped up and down in the puddle.
I looked on in horror as I saw his feet and pants consumed by the muddy water. I could well imagine myself (not to mention the car seats) getting equally brown very soon, as I would have to carry him away.
“Aadit! Look at that baby in the pram! Look at the Champa tree! Wow! Cat!!!” I tried my best to distract him from the puddle, but my almost-two years old boy was quite sure of what he wanted. “Mama do” he said looking at me in the eye. “Mama do” meant that he expected me to jump in the puddle too! I looked unsure and then looked away. But he came up to me, tugged my hand and firmly said pointing to the puddle “Mama do. Mama do.”
I put one leg in. He smiled. I put in the other. He clapped his hands. Then, as if to lead the way he started running and I followed him. We ran all along the walking track, splashing in every puddle and laughing wholeheartedly.
And there we stood laughing like crazy creatures while the cold wind lashed about our faces. A couple of motherly doubts did cross my mind – was I insane? What if he caught a cold? Or a fungal infection on his foot? Thankfully my thoughts were muffled by our happy screams.
That night as I lay on the bed, my little bundle of joy sleeping peacefully next to me, I realized that the best part of my day was the wonderful spontaneous splashing session that we had. Oh! We try so hard to plan activities for our children so that they can have fun. Sometimes it’s wise to let them take the lead and have some fun yourself. Today, he is not a toddler, but a school-goer. Yet, the lesson remains as fresh and as true as ever!