I had the day off, so we spent a good portion of the day inside, within the shelter of our central air, watching television and playing games in our pajamas… But, eventually, that little nagging voice inside my head that claims I’m an adult kept telling me it was time to get dressed and go outside. I’d heard there’s Vitamin D to be had out there, and because my kids don’t eat much naturally, I was compelled to agree that we should head outdoors. (Plus, who knows? Perhaps if I wore them out, they’d sleep better tonight!) I decided that rather than get the kids formally dressed, I’d have them wear their swim trunks. Today would be a day for the sprinklers.
This summer, Ryan bought about the coolest hose attachment ever known to man. It’s a plastic sprinkler, but the design is very clever. Imagine the core of the sprinkler is more or less an extension of your garden hose for about 10-15 feet or so. Approximately every six inches along the main hose structure, there are much smaller, flexible miniature hoses coming off at various perpendicular angles, each one brightly colored. This is our new sprinkler. And when you turn our garden hose on, the little tiny flexible hoses go crazy, shooting water in each and every direction. It’s very exciting compared to the boring, predictable sprinklers of my days.
I laid our fabulous new sprinkler out in the yard and dragged the kids out of the house. They protested the whole way. “I’m playing. It’s too hot. I want to watch Bora the Exploa (Dora, the Explorer).” The scene they made was fairly reminiscent of their behavior at bedtime, actually. But, I got them outside, and turned the sprinkler on.
First, they stood and starred at the sprinkler, as if they’d never seen it before, or as if they hadn’t fought with me all spring long to play with it, when it was much too cold to let them. I was annoyed. Ben loves water. Surely he should have welcomed such a thing on the hottest of summer days. I didn’t expect Jake to get overly excited and dive in, as that’s not his style unless a video game is involved, but I also didn’t expect that he would be so reserved as to miss out on an opportunity to get play in the water in the back yard. They had both recently had oodles of fun with hoses and squirt guns and water balloons at their Gma Linda’s house, and they both enjoy playing in the water at Grandpa Wayne’s house also. This just didn’t add up, so I warned them that we would not go in the house until they played, because I’m a mean mother like that sometimes.
Next, they dared each other to go at the menacing sprinkler, but neither budged a smidgen closer to actual water. Jake pushed Benjamin forward a bit, but Ben used a very skillful tactical maneuver and ducked under his hand. Ben then ran behind Jacob and threw his weight into him so that he would fall forward, but Jake’s determination and strength crushed Ben’s efforts. Both boys then decided to combine forces at this point to take my will on as their opponent, and started asking to go back inside, but never fear! For my resolve was much stronger than they had imagined. I sat firmly in my lawn chair, refusing to budge until they had fun.
Finally, Jake had an idea. He found beat up old umbrellas for him and Ben. With umbrellas in hand, they charged straight at the water! But, it was cold, and they ran back out quickly. Luckily, the sweltering heat was doing my bidding for me, and before too long, Jake and Benjamin had each found sticks to go along with their play. Sir Jake and Ben the Brave Knight began charging the sprinkler water breathing dragon with their sticks and umbrellas, er um… I mean, with their swords and shields. Before too long, they were soaked head to toe and wearing smiles along with their new armor.
As I had suspected, they enjoyed running around in the sprinkler. They exchanged their knighthood for a career in bank robbery, using the various ways the water steamed in the way that a good movie uses laser grids to protect a valuable museum display. They picked up the sprinkler, and wore it as a necklace. They took individual hoses and tried to take aim at one another. Somehow, they even played water basketball in the driveway and water swing in the furthest part of the back yard. Ultimately, it was a beautiful time had by all.
At some point, that nagging adult voice in my head reminded me that along with the Vitamin D that the sunshine can provide comes sunburns and skin cancer, and so I was forced to direct my fair skinned sweethearts back into the house. This transition was not met with such opposition this time though, as the boys had worked up quite an appetite while playing.
I’d like to think that each day if I look hard enough, there should be a lesson learned. Today, the lesson was one of imagination and heat tolerance, and I am happy to share that moral with you as well. And so, if anyone asks how to beat the summer heat, feel free to confidently tell them, “with a stick, of course!”