Cheryl Hughes: Rainy Day
On one very rainy day, my granddaughter, Sabria, discovered that our TV doesn’t work if the rain is particularly hard, but her magic erase board does, regardless of the weather, so we took turns drawing and erasing for several minutes. The number board was also still in perfect working order, so we put the numbers, 0 – 10, in their proper places, at least eleven times.
As the rain began to slow to a sprinkle, Sabria discovered that the TV was once again happily broadcasting “Peppa Pig.” This gave her an idea. She found her Dora snow boots and said, “Muddy puddles.” Being a grandmother, I speak fluent granddaughter, which means I am able to read between the lines, so I slipped into my rain boots, took her hand, and headed for the door.
“Peppa Pig,” for those of you who don’t have the TV tuned to Nick Jr. twenty-three out of the twenty-four hours of each day, is a little girl pig with a British accent. She has a Mummy and a Daddy and a little brother, George, all who speak with British accents. They have adventures, and sometime during the course of each episode, they all “splash about in muddy puddles”—this is how they refer to the activity I would call “jumping up and down in mud puddles.”
On this particular rainy day, Sabria and I found lots of muddy puddles in which to splash about, so we did. Sabria pretended to be Peppa Pig and I played the part of Mummy Pig. We got our bottles of bubbles and watched as the bubbles we blew bounced upon the muddy puddles. We put leaves into the lids of our bubble bottles and pretended they were boats with sails. Sabria decided that the water in the muddy puddles looked like chocolate milk, so our boats lost their sails and became cups from which to drink. We made pretend gulping sounds and told each other how good the muddy puddle milk was.
I spotted a snail moving along the bench beneath the maple tree. Sabria was fascinated by the fact that he was taking his house with him as he made his way across the wooden board. We checked our plastic barrel of murky water that sits next to the back sidewalk. No, the tadpoles were still tadpoles. “How long does it take a tadpole to turn into a frog, anyway?” I wondered out loud. “I don’t know, Gee,” Sabria answered, turning both hands palms up.
I had a kiln of bottles ready to load. The rain had stopped and I needed to seize the moment. I hosed off our boots and feet, changed us both into slippers, and picked up my box. “No, Gee,” Sabria protested. The kiln is in the shop, down a gravel driveway at the bottom of the hill behind our house. She hates to go with me when I load bottles.
“I’ll tell you what,” I said, as I thought of a bribe, “Let’s get in the car and drive down, and while I’m loading bottles, you can pretend you’re driving.” This appeased her, so we got into the car with the bottles and made our way to the shop. I climbed out, got the bottles, made sure the car was in park, and made sure I took the keys—she’s one of those kids who loves to try to figure out how everything works, and usually can.
I got so caught up in making sure the bottles were placed on the shelves in such a way that they wouldn’t roll or wouldn’t melt into one another or wouldn’t scrape the shelf above them that I hadn’t noticed that Sabria wasn’t whining about how long I was taking.
“She’s really content out there,” I thought. This could mean only one thing. “But I took special care to remove the loose change and scissors and ink pens—anything that could prove to be a hazard to a two-year-old,” I assured myself. I looked out the door of the shop where I could see her standing in the seat, both hands on the steering wheel, pretending to drive. I finished up, closed the shop door and opened the car door.
There she was, still standing in the seat with both hands on the steering wheel, an empty bottle of Germ-X on the floorboard, Germ-X squishing out of the seat cushion as she moved her feet, three Halls cough drops stuck to her legs, singing “Row, row, row your boat,” at the top of her voice.
“Come on, baby, we’ve got to get you up to the house and get you cleaned up,” I said, as I tried to move her over.
“Me drive!” she protested.
“Sit in my lap and we’ll both drive,” I said.
She agreed to the arrangement, so I sat down on the wet cushion, put her in my lap and inched my way back up the driveway. It had started to rain again, pretty hard. The cold, gooey gel that was working its way into the pants on my backside was suddenly met with a warm sensation in my lap. Training panties. I’d forgotten she wasn’t wearing a diaper.
“Uh oh!” she said.
“It’s okay, Peppa” I said, “You and Mummy are covered in Germ-X. We’ll just let the rain take care of the rest.”
And we did.