The Water Bucket
I invented a new toy for Rachel. It’s called the water bucket. It’s actually a very large and shiny silver bowl that is ordinarily perfect for mixing cakes. But as the water bucket, this bowl lives on top of the brightest beach towel in the house, carries a little pool of water, and is most fun when accompanied by various water-scooping and pouring vessels, otherwise known as cups, ladles, shot glasses, and other unexpected items from around the house such as legos (yes, this is why they made legos hollow inside).
The water bucket holds Rachel’s attention for at least half an hour. Scoop. Pour. Scoop. Pour. Ladle. (Pause to say spoon?, then) Pour. Dump it all out. Start all over.
I give her different vessels each time we play and every time she is focused: scooping and pouring, developing patterns, then changing those patterns, confident though with the occasional surprise (like those legos! – her idea, and a brilliant one). It looks like monotonous activity but it isn’t.
Every so often she’ll take a sip, which makes this activity seem ceremonial in a way. I sit close by but only offer intermittent oohs and ahhs. I marvel at her intense expressions. What is going on behind those big brown eyes? Who knew a simple mixing bowl could hold such wonder.