23rd October 2012
A trip back in time for this post – CaveMammy has a backlog of Free Range Tuesdays to write about! This day was the first real test of our resolve as it was raining heavily enough and had the potential to be a bit of a miserable afternoon but sure we said we’d give it a go. The boys were decked out in the full Lidl rain gear regalia, like two matching blue gnomes, and CaveBaby and I were making do with a kind of rain gear hack cobbled out of the babywearing cover and, it seemed, every wet weather accessory I could find in the hall before we left. He was warm in the sling wearing a small hoody, leg warmers and a balaclava and resting against the jumper I was wearing. Then he had the MAM waterproof cover over him. The cover is kind of like the waterproof shell things that people use to keep backpacks dry when cycling and hiking. It’s comfier than those though – fleece lined with a waterproof outer layer, it fits snugly around him and then has long ties that I bring over my shoulders to the front, thread through the waist level loops and then tie to keep everything secure. I also had on rain trousers over leggings and, in a unprecedented scaling of fashion heights, wore a mac in a a sack backwards, using the toggles to tie it at the back of my neck and under CaveBaby’s bum. As an unexpected bonus, the hood converted to a fetching cowl. Knowing that you can’t go for an outfit like this half-heartedly, I threw my all at it and finished off with a black woolly hat and a flowery brolly. We were byuuuuu-riful.
I’d been hoping to bring the lads back at some stage to Massey’s Woods in Rathfarnham (the place where we’d headed out with the Free Range Kids group over the summer) and this seemed like a good time as we’d have a bit of shelter from the rain under the trees. We parked the car just at the entrance to the Hellfire Club carpark and walked back down the road a little to the Massey’s Woods entrance. The Hellfire Club is a great walk too but can get quite exposed so we stayed downhill. I knew there was a place near the stream that was good for playing and vaguely remembered how to get to it from the day in the summer but thank god for men and dogs because without directions from one, we’d have been wandering for a while (he heard me saying now let’s find the stream boys, pointedly, in his earshot, with a pleading look). The walk through the woods was lovely, the air was at saturation point and there were wet autumn leaves everywhere and that lovely damp woods smell. We spotted a white gazebo set up at a distance through the trees which was probably just a shelter for some orienteering group or other but which looked altogether mystical through the rainy haze.
We eventually found the spot at the stream that we’d been at before so we stopped there to let the lads have a play. They were crossing over and back through the stream, splashing in the shallows and sliding off stones. As always the balance between letting them have fun and making sure they don’t require hospitalisation is a fine one.
Their two different personalities shine through so much when we go out for these walks. CaveCousin was all on for a bit of construction and jumped at the suggestion to build a dam; CaveBoy said nah and went off to fire rocks into the water and make explosion noises. Poor auld CaveCousin was let down by my limited dam building experience (it takes a bit of engineering know-how to figure out where in the flow to put the rocks!) and so we found a sandy part and he started to build the outline of a Batcave for himself out of stones. He was doing really well and ended up with a kind of two-roomed feature that had the look of something uncovered in an archaeological dig.
Cavebaby was happy enough on the back but did insist on repeatedly sucking the edges of the brolly when he got bored and so kept losing his shelter. So to distract him and try keep him covered, we got moving again. We followed the path of the stream, checking out access points as we went, and we found another good splashing spot further on. The rocks here were mossy, wet and seriously slippy so I banned jumping only to be told by CaveBoy that I’m not jumping mammy I’m just moving fast over the rocks.
Answer. For. Everything.
Even with the tree cover the rain was getting in our bones a bit at this stage so executive decision to return to car was made. I hadn’t properly take into account that the walk home was all uphill and the poor pets were exhausted by the time we got back. CaveBaby of course had the best seat in the house and went for a lovely little snooze, not waking up when I sat in the front seat to open the sling nor when I transferred him to the car seat in the back nor at all until we got back home! I stripped, dried and dressed the two tired (and somewhat cranky!) little boys as quickly as possible, using my stylish mac in a sack as a ground mat and dumping every item we’d been wearing into a big plastic bag in the boot, to be emptied into the washing machine as soon as possible and without touching any home interiors. And then it was off to nanny’s for warmth, biscuits and a nice civilised play with their Batman toys. First rainy day conquered!