After gorging ourselves on a delicious dinner, we headed outside toward the car. Aiden asked to make a detour past the fountain to throw a penny in for good luck, so we headed over. The Richardson location, where we ate, has a courtyard with a couple of fountains in a pond as well as an area of fountains that spray out of the ground, a favorite of children in the summertime who love to run through and play. It was a sunny day, but windy, the breeze making it feel quite cool, so we weren't planning on letting the kids play in the water. But...plans change!
Aiden was throwing in his coin when Aubrey spotted the other fountains and started running, full speed ahead. She ran headlong into the fountains--and Brad and I looked at each other and just grinned, knowing that someone was about to get a BIG surprise! Of course, a nicer parent would have tried to save her daughter from getting sprayed in the face by the jets... but Brad and I are not that nice, I guess. We just stood there and watched and then laughed hysterically when she was squirted in the face and ran, shocked, out of the fountains.
Surprise, surprise...she liked it!! Whereas Aiden would have screamed at the injustice of getting wet and ran in terror away from the fountains when he was Aubrey's age...Aubrey looked at us, grinned, with water droplets dripping off her nose, and turned and ran straight back for the water! She would stand directly over the jets, the water spraying right up under her dress on onto her belly, which would make her gasp and giggle and run away--and then turn and run right back. She was having a blast, weaving her way through the shooting water. And Brad and I were having so much fun watching her surprised facial expressions and reactions!
Aiden saw what fun Aubrey was having and decided to join her. He stripped off his shoes and rolled up his pant legs and began karate chopping the water, kicking and jumping and acting silly. Quite a few people stopped by to laugh and stare at the two fully-clothed children running through the fountains, no doubt wondering what kind of parents would allow their kids to get wet on a cool spring day. After about 20 minutes of playing, they began to slow down, and the goosebumps and shivers made their appearance, so we headed to the car.
Luckily, I drive a mini-van and always have a load of crap in the back for such contingencies, so I grabbed a beach towel and stripped Aubrey down to her diaper, drying her off and cranking up the heater in the backseat. I buckled her into her seat and covered her with a blanket. Then we stripped Aiden down, dried him and re-dressed him in a spare pair of dry underwear, and wrapped him in another blanket I keep in the car. We wrung out their clothes and packed them into a garbage bag (that I also happened to have on hand) and then headed to Sonic...for ice cream. By the time we arrived, the backseat was toasty warm from the heater, Brad and I were sweltering in the front seat with our A/C cranked, and Aiden sat, happily eating ice cream in his underwear.
I guess you could say Brad and I are unconventional parents. We far too often are the parents who just sit back and watch our kids jump in the mud puddle at the playground that every other mother is yelling at her kid to stay out of. When Aubrey starts to fingerpaint in her yogurt at dinner, I don't take it away--I grab a camera and laugh as she smears it in her hair. We encourage a little experimentation and spontaneous fun and just see a muddy or wet kid as an inconveniece rather than a major catastrophe. And although my kids may sometimes look like Pigpen from the old Charlie Brown cartoon strip, with a cloud of dirt around them and filthy clothes, I'd much rather fight the stains on laundry day and give them frequent baths than miss out on the huge smiles on their faces.
Here are a few pics of our fountain fun--sorry for the lousy quality, they are from my cell phone camera, but it was all I had.
Wow, that's cold!
Playing together in the water.
She couldn't get enough of the water--and cried when it was time to go!