Philip was angry. I’m not sure why, exactly. My guess is that his chain of multi-colored plastic links that he was violently shaking in his hand just wouldn’t do what he wanted them to do. I’ve witnessed this frustration more frequently recently. I think his lack of language forces him to express his anger in other ways. This evening it was by stomping and crying. Crying very loudly.
Hoping to distract Philip from whatever he was unable to do with the toy or say about it, I put on his shoes, hooded sweatshirt and took him outside. I thought a quick walk to the end of the block and back would be the perfect distraction. When I had last checked, there was a lull in the rain. However, when we exited the house, I could tell that it had started to sprinkle. This didn’t matter at first. Philip was more interested in checking out the porch. After I steered him away from the container of cigarette butts, amid protest, he opted to explore the railing. In the course of making his way along the edge of the porch, he saw the rain dripping off the eaves. And then he saw the puddle.
At first, he was content to watch through the railing. He liked watching the rain splash into the puddle. After several minutes, he seemed to bore of this and headed for the steps. I thought that, despite the rain, we could still take a short stroll up a few houses and back. When I tried to lead Philip up the sidewalk, he got angry. Again.
It was at this moment that Peter came out to smoke. When I explained why I the toddler I was holding was kicking and screaming, Peter thought a moment and said, “Let him play!” Knowing that bath time was coming up soon, I decided to follow the advice. I put Philip back on the ground, and he raced directly to the puddle. He started by splashing in it. But what he really loved was looking up to let the rain drip into his face. Peter ran into the house and brought the camera out to catch Philip in the act.
Philip alternated between letting the rain fall on his cheeks and digging in the mud. He even stuck out his tongue to catch the drops. I let him continue this until I was certain he would get too chilly. I told it was time to go in for a bath and picked him up out of the puddle.
Philip was angry.