Oh, the fun you can have with something as simple as a garden hose, a sprinkler and a paddling pool when you’re two-and-a-half!
On Sunday, Heather was out for the day seeing a friend and took Toby with her, so I got to have a father/son day with Isaac again. These days, I don’t think any of us bat an eyelid at the prospect. Heather knows I can look after Zac just fine, and that we both enjoy our ‘boys only’ days. Zac knows Mummy will be coming back later, and isn’t abandoning him forever when she pulls out of the driveway. And Toby is nonplussed, in the way that five-month olds are.
We don’t do it often – maybe every six weeks or so – but it’s often enough to be regular, and yet infrequent enough for me to notice the steps in Zac’s development between our days together. This month’s lesson: influencing skills drawing on prior experience.
The ice lolly
Prior experience: There is a high probability of there being no ice cream in the freezer. Ice cream is generally obtainable from one of two sources. One, the funny van that plays music, but that only comes late in the day. Two, that place in the big park in the middle of town, the one with the big lake.
Influencing skills, step 1: “Daddy, can we go to play on the swings and the slides? The one with the big lake?”
We arrive at the park. Zac, for once, doesn’t flit about all over the place. He makes straight for the swings, very business-like, and has a five-minute play. Then:
Influencing skills, step 2: (Points to the cafe.) “Daddy, I want to go there. Want an ice lolly, please.” Observe carefully in case Plan B – the bottom lip wobble – is required. Not in this case.
Outcome: Ice lolly procured and eaten. Time 11:40am. Sorted.
Water, water everywhere
After the park, we did the usual drive/sleep routine, had a minor disagreement over lunch (he wanted to skip straight to dessert) and then set out again for the garden centre. It has been swelteringly hot for weeks now, and Zac has become increasingly obsessed – in that OCD way that he has – with the garden hose, the shower in the bath and indeed anything that sprays water. When we were at our friends’ place the previous weekend, he had had a whale of a time dancing in and out of their garden sprinkler – “rain”, he calls it – getting absolutely drenched but loving every minute of it. So that was my shopping mission for the day: garden centre, thirty quid, Daddy is a hero for the day again.
You can see the results of ‘Zac versus the sprinkler’ and ‘Zac versus the hose’ in the following video clips. I think it’s safe to say he quite enjoyed his afternoon!