It’s a beautiful day. The sun is beaming, the skies are clear. We’re sitting on the porch of our beach hut enjoying the shade. We can see glimpses of sparkling blue waters and white sand through the green foliage in front of us. Our own little piece of the beach. There are plenty of other people around, but the wooden screens at the side of the huts and the lush greenery in front preserve the illusion that we’re almost on our own out here. We’re feeling lazy this afternoon. We’ve earned a bit of time to relax after chasing a toddler all morning. We’re all watered and fed, with nowhere we have to go and nothing we have to do. Unlike home, where there’s always a pile of housework waiting to be done. So we’ve put our feet up, taken the kindles out, and are enjoying just sitting here and taking it all in. It’s so rare that you get to sit still with a toddler around. I sit quietly, just soaking up the peaceful atmosphere so I can remember how it feels when we go back to our normal hectic life.
What have we done with the Rascal, you might ask? Oh, he’s still here. But he’s busy doing his own thing for now. Daddy looked sceptical when I suggested we let him entertain himself for a while, but I had a plan. There’s this big red urn on the porch steps that is refilled each day with fresh water. A large wooden ladle is provided so that we can wash our feet when we come back to the hut covered in sand. It’s a little thing of convenience that most people give barely a thought to each day as they use it. But I have a toddler, and I know how his mind works. I relocate the urn to be easily accessible on the porch, but just far enough away from our chairs. I strip the Rascal down so that he’s clad in only his cute little swim shorts. I leave a few stray toy cars on the sunbeds, tilted to create workable ramp the cars can run down. Then I introduce him to the pot and ladle, indicating he’s got free reign to do what he wants (within reason). Given that his ultimate favourite pastimes often involve water, it’s not surprising when he immediately gets busy making with the splashing.
For about an hour, he amuses himself clattering about on the wooden porch. Often with ladle in hand, battering off of walls and furniture. He is happily (if not particularly quietly) entertaining himself by flinging water in every direction. It’s not entirely peaceful on our little patch of paradise, but there are worse background sounds to listen to than a happy toddler. He takes his job seriously. There’s a well-defined method to his madness, and he follows each step diligently. Fill ladle, slowly turn, fling water, gradually arcing it closer to parents until they object, run to fetch toy car, drive it along sunbed, let it fall discarded at the foot, industriously race around porch, return to urn, repeat from start. It’s an important job, and someone has to do it right. While we peruse our books, he’s got it covered and all is well in the world. At least until the Rascal accidentally smacks his father’s foot with the ladle as he dashes past.