Muddy boots and muddy kids

I don’t know the proper name for the footwear but I call them muck boots. Our three oldest grandchildren each have a pair of the rubber slip-on boots that are great for splashing in mud puddles and exploring damp and swampy places. I’ve been thinking of obtaining a pair for myself one of these days. It seems so handy to have a pair of waterproof boots for exploring the areas next to the lake or river or just dealing with rainy days and muddy fields.

However, I have spent considerable time with the garden hose in the last couple of days washing out sand and mud from the insides of those boots. It seems that one of the rules of childhood is that whenever walking in the mud there must be a place where it is deep enough to run in the top of the boots. Having muck boots for 3- 6- and 9-year-olds seems to not be a recipe for dry feet.

Before lunch yesterday the oldest one and I were having a conversation. He was stripped down to his underwear, covered in mud from head to toe, waiting for his sister to finish her shower so he could wash up. He was explaining how they were walking in the mud and found some places where they sunk in way deeper than they expected. I pointed out that it is a long ways from the top of his boots to his waist. That didn’t seem to make much sense to him as he was already expecting to get into the mud deeper than the top of his boots when they went down to the water’s edge. The lake is very shallow in the place where they went, filled with water lilies and I remember doing a bit of wading there myself earlier in the summer when we rowed into that place with our little boat. I didn’t have mud up to my waist, but then I’m taller than he.

I’m beginning to understand why our camper has an outside shower installed on it. It would be a valuable device to have when raising three children.

Meanwhile the guinea pig had been moved to a bedroom that has an air conditioner for a more luxurious life for the animal. I don’t know why that struck me as funny, except that I grew up without air conditioning and we didn’t have an air conditioner in our home until our children were in their teens. I don’t know much about it, but the pet seems to be healthy and happy.

I know it hasn’t been that long since we were raising our children, but I marvel at the energy of our son and daughter in law. They are up in the morning before the children getting things ready and they are awake after the children go to bed at night. I’m thinking about a nap as soon as lunchtime rolls around. I remember when getting an occasional nap, maybe once a week, was a great luxury. These days I take a break nearly every day.

It isn’t just the extra showers that consume a parent’s time. Raising children is a constant process of wiping up the spilled water when the glass turns over during a meal, cleaning up the floor when the little one is a bit careless with her food, a constant process of repairing broken toys and broken items around the house. I got a chuckle out of the parents talking to each other while making shopping lists. One headed to the grocery store with two daughters, the other to the hardware store with the son, each with a list of essential items needed to get through the day. I went along with the hardware store run where the paint had to be matched for a touch up and the range hood filter had to be exactly the right size. I marveled that our son could eyeball the o-rings and buy just the right size. I usually end up buying an assortment to get the right one, but he’s replaced that o ring before and knows what is required. There is a story behind the need for a new stopper for the bathroom sink, and a reason why their household goes through so many zip ties.

In the evening, after everyone has been fed supper, the fence is moved so the chickens will have new territory this week, tomatoes and berries are picked from the garden and brought into the house. There are a few more ripe items in the garden as well. Plants need to be watered after a hot day. Then there are teeth to brush and stories to read and children to be tucked into their beds with the proper blankets and stuffed animals. I’m impressed with the amount of bedding and stuffed animals that need to be moved when the grandchildren have “sleep over” at the camper every other night.

I love the energy and pace of family life with our grandchildren but am aware that being parents of three energetic children is a job for those who are a bit younger and stronger than I. I’m ready for bed after a day with the children. And our visit is on the weekend when there are no home school lessons to be completed and the kids’ chores are limited to putting away freshly laundered clothes. I think the washing machine runs full time at that house.

As we headed back to our camper after a full day, I thought of all of the day’s adventures as I walked past the row of muck boots all upside down drying on the steps to the back door. They’ll be ready for new adventures today and so will the children. I guess that there is no particular reason for me to rush out to get a pair for myself. It isn’t like i could keep up with the kids even if I had my own boots.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!