We have a massive sand pit in the park next to our house. It's like the king of sand pits, it's about twenty feet square, is sunk 2 feet into the ground and has a slide and climbing frame in the middle of it. I've always held off from taking the spud in there for obvious reasons. You know, sandy fingers, sandy knees, sandy nappies, sandy buggy, sand in the house... oh, and sand on my boobs.
So, today, after running into a friend in the park who was taking her daughter to the sand pit, I took the spud down and let him loose. It's kinda good, the sand pit. It has walls and no stairs so he can't get out; there's lots of kids playing in the sand for him to pal around with and, apart from hitting his head on the bottom of the slide, nowhere for him to hurt himself. In fact, it's kinda great in the sand pit. I mean, even nearly brilliant.
What has become clear however is that my dear little spud is in no way as socialised as I would like to believe. He really doesn't understand that just because he wants to play with something it doesn't mean that he has any right to it for any length of time. As I wasn't expecting the sand pit, I didn't bring any sand-pit toys. Other Mums however have already had their moment of sand-pit satori and come to the park specifically to let dear diddums get sand in its ears. They therefore carried buckets and spades and rakes and cars with big wheels, all of which was like catnip for the spud. He would crawl up to a group of children, insert himself cunningly into the middle and wait for someone to lose interest in a toy, then grab it up and start energetically imitating whatever it was the other child had been doing.
This was all very cute until Mums started leaving and taking diddums with them - and, crucially, diddums' toys. I was forced to sit cringing in a corner while the spud refused to give up the rake and then do that apologetic, hunched walk of shame that one does in front of other Mums as I rushed to swoop him up. He sat with his arms out, shaking and going bright red with rage and disappointment, his little face crumpled and wet, doing the very long, very silent in-breath that babies do right before they let loose with a war cry. Poor little spud, he just doesn't understand why he can't have the things he wants. After two episodes of this, guiltily I took him out of the pit and rushed him to the toy shop however failed to buy him a bucket and rake because I would have had to also buy the spade, a watering can and several nasty looking plastic things covered in cartoons, all handily wrapped in a net bag and for the sort of money I would expect to pay for a real, life-sized bucket, spade and rake. And a martini to go in the glasses. Or two.
I will however have to buy him something for the pit because despite my sandy decolletage, acquired when swooping my tearsome lovely to my breast, the sand pit is a big winner and the real reason is nothing to do with the spud, sadly, it's to do with me.
While he was off exploring other children's toy collections, I kicked off my sandals, sat next to my friend and buried my feet in the sand and you know what? It feels GREAT to bury ones feet in cool sand on a warm day. I was in heaven. I wriggled my feet so much that they are smooth as the spud's butt at the moment, completely exfoliated. In fact, I think I'm going to have to force the spud into the sand pit on a regular basis.
For his own good, you understand...