Thursday, August 16, 2007


Yesterday in the clear, hot afternoon Echo and I had the Tornado Trio again, this time while their parents went to a nice French restaurant for lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon doing their own relaxing thing. As per the plan laid out in Operation Tornado we took the kids and their gear upmountain to a secret forest waterfall a kilometer or so along the rough road (the kids loved that rocking and bouncing!) above the spring we go to sometimes to get our special mountain water.

Kaya had visited the falls before and liked it, so we figured it would be a good place for the three to burn off some of their pent-up house-energy. When we got to the spot, made our way down the path from the road to the 5-meter-high roaring falls under a close canopy of trees and got the kids into the shallow sandy part of the pool, the twins looked way up at the giant roaring cascade and, all unexpectedly to me, got scared and wanted out immediately.

So we went back down to the spring to fill the jugs with water, the kids helping for about 30 seconds because from the spring there issues a small meandering baby stream of foot-wide overflow, in which all three girls splashed and played happily with their bags of beach toys for an hour or so until all the toys had been used up one by one in all the various permutations and they had learned for example whether it is possible and what it takes to fill a big water bottle from a stream by the spoonful and then empty it into the stream by the ladleful, how long it takes to empty a big bottle of toy-shoveled water into a little stream, how to hold the bottle while doing so (emptying whole bottles of water right out, again and again, without an adult interfering even once!), how much water a plastic bag can hold, how to carry a plastic bag full of water and how to pour it into a small-necked bottle, what happens when you suddenly squeeze the bag, or poke a hole in it etc., wisdom-bits we all must acquire (whether we remember it or not) and somehow assemble along the way into what we come to call understanding, as way back when little Keech had to learn whether or not dad's favorite pen would write on toast (nothing like a buttery nib), or how many times you can put a ball into a box and take it out, thereby early on acquiring a hands-on grasp of what he now understands as infinity.

Speaking of infinity, it was exhausting for Echo and I just standing back and monitoring the whole freestyle affair cubed, so when the trio at last wore the stream out, on condition they cleaned up all their beach toys we took them back down the mountain (fun rough road again!) to a secret little beach we know of on this side of the lake, where they could frolic in the waves and sing their spontaneous water songs while we lay flat on our backs in some shade on the sand and just breathed. We grownups have to play too, after all.


Maya's Granny said...

Children must run multiple experiments to learn how the world works, and it is a wise grandfather and granmother indeed who allows them to do it.

We forget how many different things a person needs to learn about water.

Bob Brady said...

And allowing them to do it is the more exhausting option... This is the time when as they are learning language like lightning, they can learn the fundamentals of physics, math etc. like lightning. It's a disservice to their growing minds to do more than merely watch over them (or on occasion participate!).