Mystery of Mysteries
“My sock is wet.” Jazz holds a purple-clad foot ahead of her. I give it a feel. It’s not damp, it’s not even wet. It’s soaked.
“It certainly is! Did you step in some water?” I ask, as I peel it off her now-chilly foot.
“Where is the water?”
“There!” And she points to the wet sock in my hand. Yes, of course. They do this all the time, toddlers. A tot comes wailing, rubbing the bump on their head. Ask them where they bumped themselves, and what do they tell you?
“Heeere!” (Text: On my head. (Subtext: Stupid.)) The question is largely pointless, and were it not for the fact that there’s obviously a puddle somewhere I need to wipe up, I wouldn’t bother asking. But somewhere there is a puddle, and I’d rather not find it by stepping in it myself. So despite the odds of failure, I try.
“I know your sock is wet, braniac. I want to know: where is the water on the floor?”
“It’s inna kitchen.”
Well, that’s helpfully specific. Also, likely. We wander out to the kitchen. I scan the room, tipping my head, hoping to spot the gleam of a puddle. Water is hard to spot.
“Do you remember where on the floor you stepped in the water?” Even as I wonder if she can sort out that tangled sentence, Jazz is trotting to the corner beside the fridge. Ha. Better and better.
“There!” she points. It’s a small space, so I should be able to spot it. Less than a metre square, and the only thing in it the dogs’ bowls. More scanning. And again.
“I dunno, Jazz. I don’t see any water.”
“Yes, it’s there!” And she moves a few steps over and points again. Toward the dogs’ bowls. Toward the dogs’ water bowl. There is no puddle. (I’m remarkably slow on the uptake this morning, I know.) I finally see the damning evidence: two or three small wet footprints. And the penny finally drops.
“Jazz. Did you step in the dogs’ water bowl?”
“Yeah…” Her tone is dubious. It’s suddenly struck her that perhaps this is on the list of Stuff We Don’t Do. (But the list is so long! And so arbitrary! We don’t step in the dogs’ water bowl?? I mean, WHO KNEW???)
I could ask her why. Why did you step in the water bowl, Jazz? Why? But though we adults yearn to know the answer to that perennial question, toddlers just don’t have the answer. Or don’t understand the question. Or simply don’t have a reason for doing this stuff. Why? Who knows? Because it was there. Because her foot was there. Because, suddenly, her foot was in the water — and then her sock was all icky-wet! (Because WHO KNEW that would happen???)
I wipe up the soggy footprints. We return to the living room to find her some dry socks.
And I close — and latch — the gate to the kitchen.