It was a real scorcher yesterday! Not wanting to sound typically British, but I’m not great in the heat. (That we honeymooned in Iceland highlights that fact.) So for the hottest day of the year so far I planned lots of shade, lots of ice cube-filled drinks and cracking out the paddling pool.
Eric wasn’t as enthusiastic about the paddling pool as I thought he would be. He anxiously got into the rather chilly water and thankfully, after a couple of minutes, decided that he quite liked it. He loved taking control of the hose pipe, which I had on a very slow dribble to keep him entertained. He spent the morning dipping in and out and pottering around the garden.
I have such clear memories of the paddling pool when I was small. I remember seeing a glimpse of it in the shed and just feeling pure excitement that it was being pulled out and pumped up. I remember them bursting quite often. Maybe that was the quality of 1970’s plastic?!
I knew that Mabel would be straight in there once she was home from school and I was right! It didn’t take long to bring out our paddling pool secret weapon, sliding directly in and making a big old splash. This has always been a great success, but surprisingly Eric wasn’t that impressed. He loves sliding normally, but he was very cautious about sliding straight into the pool. Even going down on Mabel’s knee didn’t sell it to him. He was much happier stood at the bottom laughing at Mabel’s splashes.
One of the things I love at the moment is sitting back and watching the pair of them interacting, and using their imagination with one another to create their own games. Mabel obviously has more control currently (being so much older) but it’s great seeing them bounce off one another. Not literally! Although that does happen quite often too. I love to see them develop little games.
The slide moved on from being a fun way of getting into the pool, to being something that they were swimming round and round and underneath. It created a little cave that they kept swimming through. Mabel kept a running commentary as to what animal she was. Penguin, seal, dolphin etc. For anyone who knows Mabel in real life, this is quite standard! She does like to take on an animal form. Eric, as ever, was right behind her, copying all her animal impressions. He does a pretty good penguin himself now.
They also spent ages playing with three plastic jugs. Mabel went all 'It’s A Knockout' with one, by going down the slide and trying to fill her jug up as she entered the pool. Then she would fill the jug to the top and try and carry it back round and up the steps without spilling a drop. She wasn’t very good at this when she got the giggles! Eric just liked filling and emptying them. Basic stuff for a toddler.
After a break for tea which ended with very clean plates — sunshine and paddling pools definitely make for big appetites — they were back at it. We added some plastic balls into the mix and a few bounces on the trampoline. Then, alas, it was time to empty the pool. This worked well in my favour as they each had a jug and slowly emptied it jug by jug on to my thirsty plants, saving me a job for later.
Mabel had a very ‘sad that the paddling pool was empty’ face, that soon cheered up when I suggested she was some kind of exotic bird in her Hooded Owl, so she went for a good old flap around the garden.
Of course, her little brother-shadow was right behind her, although he looked more like a cute little towelled-monster than an exotic bird in his Hooded Owl.