I remember floating bark and twig "boats" down ditch-streams when I was a little girl. I guess the lure of those temporary brooks hasn't been lost through the generations.
On this particular day, the older girls were away doing the older girl social thing. The littles were left to entertain themselves, and me. What better choice than playing in the snow melt?
At first, Gen was a bit timid. To a little girl, I suppose, that seems like a lot of water. To this particular girl, who abhors baths, it probably seemed like too much water!
Soon, though, she got her sandals muddy and her hands dirty and generally had a good time. Her favourite part was throwing rocks into the water.
I wish I had a picture of her actually in the water. Though she didn't get fully in, she did dip her toes. She would squat by the edge of the stream, re-e-each for a rock, teeter on the edge and then straighten herself, safe. I worried a bit. What if she fell in? But, logic and reason soon won over Mommy Worry and I let her go. There's so much to learn from getting dirty, cold, wet and muddy. Could she have fallen in? Sure. With me right there, though, the biggest risk was simply to fall in and get pulled out. The risk of hovering, in my opinion, is far greater. At the worse we'd be dealing with a chill and a cold, rather than the timid, self-conscious demeanor of a sheltered child.
I remember washing Gen's hands at the kitchen sink, once. I was hurrying. I turned on the tap full force, stuck her hands under there and started scrubbing. It was only then that I noticed her expression. Her mouth was in an "o", her eyes wide. She was absolutely absorbed in the task of washing. It was then that I realized that she had never felt the full force of the water from the kitchen tap....and she loved it! I stopped washing her and let her hold her hands under the water. I could see it all registering in her mind - the heat of the water, the feel of the individual jets in the tap, the way her skin moved under the force of the water, the difference in feeling on her palm versus the back of her hand. Such a simple thing, but so important.
I learned a lot that day from watching my baby learn.