I have a bit of a personality flaw, I'm afraid. I'm the kind of parent that kids love but parents hate.
Case in point - today we went to a birthday party for our little friend Miles, who turned one. We put on our cutest party dresses, and headed to Miles' house about 20 minutes from ours, only to discover that no one was there. I checked my e-mail on my phone, and the party was at a park about 2 minutes from our house. Whoops.
We weren't really dressed for a party in the park, but I'm fairly adept at laundry and they looked cute, so I thought, "oh well," and let them play. I could've brought them home to change them and then returned to the park, but by the time we got there, we were already running pretty late.
The girls managed to eat their birthday cake without getting any on their outfits, and I thought, "Hooray!! Maybe this won't be a test of my Spray 'N' Wash after all!" Then, it started to rain.
Did I mention that we were at a park?
No worries, there was a picnic shelter and we were dry inside, until I heard those six little words that I had been dreading, "Mommy, I have to go potty."
Through the storm I trekked with MG holding my hand and Claire on my hip. It wasn't far, but by the time we got to the bathrooms and back, we were soaked.
Then MG and C wanted to play in the rain. By that time, they were soaked, so I said, "Why not, go for it!" And - this is the part that I didn't think about when I told my own kids they could play in the rain - all the other parents had to let their kids play in the rain too! So, there we were, about a dozen damp grown ups and about 8 soggy kids, whooping it up in the rain at the park.
I told Miles' dad that I'd watch all the kids when they came down with pneumonia next week, because I was pretty sure that the rain-play was totally my fault. He replied that he was disappointed in me for thinking that being cold and wet caused pneumonia, so I guess he couldn't have been too mad, right? I mean, if he were mad, he would've started handing out my phone number to all the other parents.
It sure looked like everyone had fun. The little ones were a little bit shivery and blue lipped, but none the worse for wear.
For the ride home, I stripped my kids down to almost nothing and tossed them in the back seat with a blanket and the heat on full blast. It was a short ride home (for us) so it wasn't too bad. When we got back, their Dad tossed them in the bath while I made supper, and now (hopefully) they're sleeping in the next room.
The way I figure it, my kids are going to remember splashing in mud puddles more than they'll remember having beautiful outfits. They're going to remember that Mom got out in the rain (for a few minutes, anyway) and quacked like a duck with them more fondly than they'll remember a mom who looked on from the shelter in silent disapproval.
I've never heard anyone say, "Oh, yeah... I had a great childhood. I was always SO clean!"
So, let the kids play in the rain, already! Or just try not to hate me when my kids instigate it. After all, they don't know any better.