What is it about boys and rain puddles that magnetically attract each other? I know I must not be the only mom who scans for rain puddles like land mines, trying to steer my kids around them. I tried just saying, "watch out for that puddle," but I finally realized that calling attention to it began an involuntary reaction, no matter how well-trained your child might be--kind of like when a dog spots a cat, or the cat hears a tuna can. It's instinct, apparently. As soon as the word "puddle" registers in the boy-brain, his feet kick in to gear, running straight to the middle of the largest one.
My son has been begging for rain boots for months now, and unable to find his size, I finally ordered a pair from L.L. Bean. (Heads-up, their most recent catalog has a free shipping code on the back.) They arrived yesterday, and to Jimmy's glee, we had a huge rainstorm last night. He went to bed giddy with anticipation.
This morning, instead of waking up to a sleepy Jimmy climbing into bed with me, asking for cereal, I woke up to: "MOOOOM! I HAVE MY RAINBOOTS ON AND I'M READY TO STOMP IN THE RAIN PUDDLES! MOOOM-MEEEEE!"
He was waiting for me by the front door, and he had already dressed himself, in oversized hand-me-down pants tucked neatly into the boots, a spiderman t-shirt, and then a backwards white undershirt on top of that. "Mommy, look, I'm wearing two shirts," he says proudly.
So I threw on some shoes, carried the baby outside, and followed Jimmy around while he stomped in puddles. He made a beeline for the 4-inch-deep pothole in the street, he's been eyeing that one longingly every time it rains. He stomped and jumped, counted off and leapt, backed and up and made a running leap, and then searched out smaller puddles in the area. When it was time to go in and get breakfast, I was expecting a protest, but surprisingly, he said, "Okay. That was fun!" Reinforcing my belief that puddle stomping is an involuntary impulse, and his had been satisfied.