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The Water Table

For Cora’s birthday, the
grandparents gave her one of those water activity tables you see in
so many back yards. We’d let it be known we were on the hunt
for used back yard toys, and so this showed up as an answer to

In fact, I’d almost put the water table on Cora’s
official list, but the neat freak in me made me hold back. Once
both girls got a look at the box, though, I knew there was no going
back, and truthfully I was glad the decision had been made for me;
both girls love the water, and our little inflatable pool takes so
long to heat up we hardly ever get it out!

So the day after Cora’s birthday I
cracked the box open and assembled the thing, Maddie dancing with
anticipation all the while. She watched carefully as I put the
thing together, and politely pointed out that the boat in the
picture came with two sails, which were left out of our box for
some reason. Mommy’s little stickler for detail strikes
again. I stuck it out in the front lawn, under the shady tree, as
entertainment while we waited for the pool in back to heat up. The

Maddie did not realize that playing with a water table meant you
would get, well, wet.

I was not there for the first play session – I cowardly ran
errands while Mom played with the girls. From all reports, though,
Maddie kept trying to dry off every time she got splashed, and
freaked out a bit with the whole wet-and-dirty element. Undaunted,
I waited a few days and gave it another shot. After all, the gift
was technically Cora’s, and Cora loved the thing!

So when I got the table back out, I planned carefully. Both girls
were in old clothes; we’d just had lunch and had moved into
that restless and dangerous “what can I do that’s fun
before my nap” phase; we were all hot and ready to have fun.

This time around, Maddie had a blast. I brought out a few extra
water toys – pouring cups and bath fishies – and Maddie
and Cora splished and splashed and interacted to their
hearts’ content. Once Maddie got over her fear of looking
less-than-pristine, she got into the role-playing and story-telling
with the toys, and Cora circled the table endlessly, scooping and
pouring and swishing her hands under water. There were a few tense
sharing moments, but all in all the girls played companionably

I think Maddie’s favorite part of Table Time is actually the
clean-up time; we empty the water onto the vegetable garden, and
Maddie tries to do it one. Small. Cup. At. A. Time. This takes
forever, of course, and I now know to plan it into part of our play
time. While Maddie does this water transportation, Cora busily
polishes all the nearby rocks in the water. So everyone’s

And at the end of our water time, we girls run into the house, dash
to the laundry room, and strip down to our diapers (or underwear).
This segues nicely into nap time, and both naked girls are content
and sleepy, tired out from the sun and fun, as they get new diapers
on and snuggle to warm up.

So the water table is a success, and I am happy. It's a great
solution for the hot days of summer: there's water to cool you
off, but not so much it's a big swimsuit production; it's easy
and fast to set up and clean up; and it gets the kids outside and
running around and playing. Thanks, grandparents, for the idea!

And thank you most of all for not getting one that is also a sand
table. Because that mess, I could not have handled.


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