Sunday, July 10, 2005

Diggin' Holes

Few better ways to spend a day, when you're a kid. Over to our favourite midsummer park, which was, with my five in it, a veritable hive of activity. Liam, Kyle, and Adam all dig holes. Liam is aiming for the tarp that he knows lines the bottom of the sandbox, about a metre down. Alice sits in the soft sand at the edge of the excavation, happily scraping rills in the dirt with a yellow plastic rake. Emma is busy making a trap, and Zach races around, surreptitiously dumping shovels of sand back into all these lovely holes. A tribute either to his skill or to the others' oblivion, he is never caught out! Emma's trap is the focus of attention for a while: a hole as deep as her arm is long, covered with a lattice of twigs, layered with dandelion leaves and clumps of dried lawnmowed grass. All the children are involved in finding this stuff. Then she carefully covers the top with sand, and, to the great satisfaction of all, it's virtually undetectable. Inspired, Liam decided to do the same. Armed with more energy than focus, however, within five minutes of frenetic digging, he has created not one sizeable hole, but rather nine small holes, which radiate away from Emma's big one in a gentle arc. It's quite the sight. Emma helps him cover the largest of his nine holes, and although it is far too small to be functional, makes everyone happy. Each of the ambulatory children take turns pretending to fall in the holes, one after the other. Being the largest, Emma goes last, and, much to the delight of her audience, stages a spectacular pratfall through Liam's trap. However, during her recovery, she genuinely stumbles over one of the multiple holes beyond that, so that she ends up full length in the sandbox, with her right arm up to its armpit in her own trap. How about that? It worked - for real! The kids are thrilled and delighted, and the fall is re-enacted many times per small boy. By the time we are ready to head home, I am the caregiver for a bunch of sand-encrusted child-shaped figurines, each one cuter - and grittier - than the one before. We love sandboxes!

8 Comments:

Anonymous Si said...

I hate sand. That being said I enjoy building forts and castles with my little ones in the sand. Not your average castle though, several battlements, a small village a hill where a famous battle was won, etc etc. But the best fun is destroying several hours worth of work at the end of the day ;-)

7/11/2005 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Nice to see you again! I think your sand-castle style is a little beyond my lot just yet. I can barely get the bucket filled and flipped before there's someone there, ready to stomp it. In fact, I have a couple of very small ones, so that all I need do is make a big sweeping scoop and plop it over, and there's a little castle. In about as much time as it took to make it - it's gone!

7/11/2005 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Mary P. said...

p.s. Though I have to confess that, left to my own devices, I am a sandcastle builder of your ilk. My predilection is sculpture: I have a great picture of a troll I made a few years back, laying on his back on the sand, lolling against a log embedded in the beach. He'd have been, oh, six or seven feet long. A lot of fun. My kids were NOT allowed to stomp him! We let the water seep him away.

7/11/2005 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Misfit Hausfrau said...

When I was a kid, my sister and I had our own part of the vegetable garden to do with it what we liked. I had the huge Tonka die-cast metail front loader and other trucks. We also had our own gardening tools. One summer when I was about 6, my mother told us to dig in the dirt until we go to China. So we did.

7/11/2005 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger Haley said...

Just shake 'em off before you let them in the house. Little bit of dirt never hurt anybody - as long as it remainds in the great outdoors!

7/11/2005 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Misfit: this is what childhood memories are made of - time and space with nothing specific to do. Though, I admit digging to China is quite the mission. Bet it kept you busy for at least a couple of hours!

Haley: You'll get no disagreement from me. My motto: "the cleaner the kid, the less fun it's having".

7/11/2005 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Haley said...

I remember that troll. Goodness, that was years ago. I remember three things from that trip (or what I am now assuming was the same trip): that troll, a frog frozen in terror on the beach while we children crowded around it and Daddy explained that it was trying to pretend it was a rock so we wouldn't eat it, and walking far far out in the water on sandbanks.

7/11/2005 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Haley: That troll was at Driftwood Provincial Park. You were six, I think, your brother three, and Emma had not been born. I don't remember the frog, so I can't say. The sandbanks were either at Salmon Point Provincial Park - but I doubt it, since you were only three then - or the beach in North Carolina. (We crazy Canadians were the only ones who entered the water, saying that quintessential Canadian-in-the-water thing: "It's great, once you get used to it!!")

7/12/2005 07:10:00 AM  

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