dar at monterey beach

Have I mentioned Dar’s obsession with water? It’s worth a full post.

Last month wifey and I were considering buying a house down the street from us. The thing that I loved best about the house was that Strawberry Creek ran right next to it (if you know the Berkeley Rose Garden, the house borders the creek as it leaves the bandshell area), giving us a natural Japanese-like water feature. This also threatened to become the house’s worst problem, because if Dar lived there, he’d no doubt be trying to play in the creek pretty much constantly. We talked about fencing it off. This isn’t exactly the main reason we’re not moving there, but it’s a factor.

Dar likes being involved with most kinds of water. Bath water. Pool water. Hot tub water. Beach water, though it’s too cold for him to venture further than his knees. Dar will spend many minutes at our bathroom sink, just touching the flowing tap water. If we shoo him away from it, he’ll go to the other bathroom sink. It got to the point that we had to install high latches on the bathroom doors, to keep him away. So then he got tall enough for the kitchen sink. It’s not really practical to latch him out of the kitchen, so we just screamed at him for about a month. Oddly, this seemed to work; he doesn’t do it anymore.

Instead, he’s shifted his focus to other taps. There’s one in the laundry room. We usually keep that locked. There’s one in the in-law unit which just came up for rental. Unfortunately for our open houses, I didn’t realized the drain on the unit’s sink eventually clogs if you spend an hour filling it, and now Dar has made the unit’s carpet stinky. He’s locked out of that, now, too.

But we don’t lock him out of the backyard, a place he needs and loves so much. Last summer, it was enough to keep the hose spigot turned off. At some point in the spring, he figured that out. But there’s another spigot that controls that spigot. And…he figured that out too. Yes, yes, we should be happy about the cognitive developments. And we are. But then…there’s one other failsafe lever that’s hidden behind the one bush I leave untrimmed. And…he figured that one out too. Yay! And ugh. So in June, we saw a lot of mud-covered Dar. In and out of the backyard, in and out of our kitchen. It’s not hard to convince him to bathe it off, but he tracks a lot of mud through the house.

Another issue is that when he plays with a hose, water scatters everywhere, and that doesn’t exactly help the potty-training sensor that tells us about accidents – lot of false positives.

Finally I tied two of the spigots with bungee cords. He doesn’t really have the hand strength to undo them. So our water problem is solved.

Kinda. When we go to parks, he spends too much time at the water fountain – the structures don’t interest him. When we go to beaches, all he wants to do is run in and out of the waves – the sand doesn’t interest him. I know every kid loves splashing in puddles, but he obsesses. And there’s still the issue of how much he hates the shower nozzle on his head. (I think it’s the water in his eyes. We tell him to close his eyes, but I really don’t think he understands.)

But on some ineffable level, I like Dar’s love for flowing water. I know this isn’t rational, but it seems to connect him to the flow of the world. And I want him to be part of that flow. I want it with every drop I drink.