The kids were being wild at lunch so we sent them outside to play. Soon Alexander and Zoë tromped up the deck steps to complain that they had gotten muddy, and they had. Their shoes were muddy (Zoë was in rain boots and Alexander was in crocs) and they had a bit of mud on their legs and hands.
He was having a squelchingly good time.
This morning the kids spent quite a long time outside pounding rocks to break them apart and I joked to Andrew that I wondered about child labour laws. Like, little children working in a rock quarry or brick factory...do they feel hard done by or do they feel like their life is awesome because they get to smash rocks or make mud bricks all day? (Seriously though, I know child labour laws are good and that being forced to work is different from just playing around and that children should be learning and playing and not earning wages...I get that...I just thought it was funny that Benjamin spent his morning cracking rocks and his afternoon churning mud).
By the time I found him there wasn't much to be done besides take pictures of him (so that I can point him to them when he's feeling frustrated by his own children, perhaps).
While we were hosing him off, the power went out in our neighbourhood. So now he (and Zoë and Alexander) were cold and wet and still in need of baths/showers (because although Zoë and Alex were mostly clean, Benjamin was still rather muddy). We headed inside and while Benjamin showered upstairs (in a bathroom filled with plenty of daylight because it has a window), I gave the little ones a candlelit bathtub in a dark, windowless bathroom.
"You're a bit dirty," I agreed, "But that's okay. We'll just wash you off before you come back inside the house. Where's Ben?"
"Benny is dirty, too!" Alexander told me.
I walked to the edge of the deck so I could see into the backyard and...yup. Benjamin was dirty. Benjamin was very dirty. Our poor backyard is just a swamp right now; we've had so much rain.
Benjamin happily turned himself into a swamp creature (the Ickabog, he told me).
He was so fierce...and muddy...
I can't say that I love it when he does this kind of thing, but I also don't particularly mind it. Like, it's not my favourite activity but...it's wholesome, right? And it washes off fairly well (most of this child's clothes are thrashed anyway, for obvious reasons so it's not like he's often let outside in a nice new outfit; in fact, he came inside to change out of his beloved pyjama bottoms...which perhaps should have raised some suspicion on my part...but whatever).
Before we went inside we obviously had to hose him off:
Zoë wanted to know if we needed to sing Happy Birthday. And then because she'd mentioned it, Alexander really started singing Happy Birthday.
When Benjamin had finished with his shower he hopped into the tub with the little kids because a candlelit bath seemed like so much fun. (I didn't actually leave the candles there the whole time; I put them over by the toilet where they wouldn't be knocked over or splashed on).
The power's back on now, so that's nice. We've had so many power outages at this house that we stocked up on batteries and emergency candles. You'd think I would just be able to bring a flashlight in the bathroom, but we can never find a flashlight when we need one (the kids are always taking them away to play in forts and then never putting them away), so candles it was today!