The last day of 2010 was an unseasonably warm day, around 50, and the snow had mostly melted, so Chloë and I donned fleece jackets and boots and went for a walk.
At first she was interested simply in the day, in the twigs and leaves on the ground and how the house that normally has loud barking dogs in the yard didn't have any loud barking dogs in the yard. Then we arrived at the corner, where leaves had blocked the gutter and created a puddle. She waded in. Since she was wearing boots, I let her. Why not? She shuffled around, noticing how the water moved when she did. She picked up some waterlogged leaves that came apart in her hands and showed them to me. She stamped. She smiled.
Then she sat down, right in the deepest of the water. I cringed and pulled her up again immediately, but she didn't seem to notice; she wanted to plunge her hands wrist-deep in the water and wave them around, and then she wanted to stomp some more, splashing my boots and laughing when I showed her the dirty drops she'd gotten on them. She sat down in the water again and seemed puzzled when I made her stand up. This girl loves her water. She's become obsessed with "washing her hands" lately because the water creates bubbles on her skin. "Bubble!" she cried, seeing the same thing happen in the puddle. "Bubble!"
She splashed and stomped until I got worried about her getting too cold and dragged her home. She was reluctant to go, but I pointed out the smaller patches of water between us and home, very splashable to a size-6 toddler shoe, and I promised a warm bath with more water and more bubbles, and eventually I was able to get her to our porch, where I removed my fleece (because my shirt is easier to wash than my jacket) and picked her up so that I could remove her soaked, muddy boots and clothes and carry her to the bathtub.