We spent a week by the sea this summer and we brought home two inflatable swimming pools for our child when we came home. When it is too hot and my son asks for it, we inflate one of the pools and fill it with warm water for him to play and splash around. It is quite cheerful an experience as he smashes the watr surface with his feet and crowd it afterwards with all the toys lying about the yard. When the pool is full of toys, so full that you could hardly add a miniature plastic duck, he decides to step in and join the colorful guests of the pool.
Every time my boy hears a car go by, pull up or start its engine, he jumps out of the swimming pools and runs towards the rusty gate, to glance thorugh the holes and watch the cars, the people coming in or out of them and the tail lights go out round the corner of the narrow street.
He then takes his time before getting back into the water, running about the yard, getting on his electric or non-electric cars and buggies, moving thing about or throwing out perfect cat into the water, laughing as the wind blows his hair in his face or studying his feet when they walk over the old metal gully top. When he finally gets back in the water, he carries a remarkable amount of dust, lint, sand and unidentified grains picked along by his soles and heels. He sometimes merely stops by just to wash his dirty hands and then he adds chalk dust and cat hairs into the water, as if keeping it clean would be a real loss.
I realised that the end result after half an hour of this come-and-go-and-spalsh is precisely the seaside experience relived. Plenty of sand in the water, on his whole body, in between fingers and toes, wet clothes, dirty hat and destroyed toys. Every afternoon that we play by the inflatable pool we feel as if we were walking in the sand, playing with overheated Made-in-China toys and requiring a long bath with plenty of soap and shower gel once the fun is over.
What’s more, he seems to be enjoying this wanna-be seaside more than the real thing!! My son hates the sand, hates walking in the sun or going into the wavy sea. But here, in between concrete houses and fences, he enjoys the water and the sand as if he were born by the seaside. The fact that we have no grass of greenery in our narrow yard probably reminds him of the concrete alleys that lead from one resort to another, where he was quite willing to walk bare-foot by himself while he absolutely refused to touch the sandy beach in the same manner (shoeless, that is).
I copied his behaviour and I decided that the ticklish sensation of the “city” sand and the washing of the feet in the mini-pool is quite refreshing and enjoyable, so now I have my own seaside resort – 22 ft away from my door!