From the Chef's Corner Sprinkler Mania
A sprinkler is a kid magnet. I am convinced that if I lived alone in the middle of a 100-acre piece of property, and I turned on a sprinkler somewhere in the far reaches of this property, the children would come from the four corners of the world to accidentally-on-purpose get wet.
For some reason, my children, indeed every child I know, think that the occurrence of a sprinkler set in the "on" position is a social event. As soon as they hear that sound (a cross between a soda fountain and a machine gun), they come out of the woodwork and merrily prance around, trampling the grass and flowers I meant to water. Some of them, just to make their parents believe that they didn't really want to get wet, I guess, will even cry when they first get hit with water; as if it's a big surprise or something. But soon the criers join the fray and are giggling and shrieking with glee just like the rest of the kids.
I believe that if I were of a mind to turn on a sprinkler in the middle of the winter, a half dozen or so children in their mittens, hats, and boots would arrive to celebrate the event by getting hypothermia. I want to assure my husband, though, that I have no intention of turning on the sprinkler in the winter, because he has warned me many times that if I do, something catastrophic will happen, like the house blowing up or some such nonsense. Whatever. Besides, I don't want to be responsible for all those four-foot human popsicles trying to shuffle home to thaw out.
On top of turning out for the sprinkler event, the children will sometimes forget to bring their brains along. I have one child who decided it would be fun to run around the sprinkler with his eyes closed. He ran smack into a tree. Whatever trait it is that caused that child to think this was a good idea was obviously from my husband's side of the family.
For nearly all children, it is not enough to merely dance in the stream of water. They are compelled, for some unfathomable reason, to try to stop the water from coming out of the sprinkler. However, they don't actually want to stop the water, because if I turned it off, they'd go ballistic. They just want to see if they can.
Even if I was using the garden hose to water my grass, my children would find some way to be in front of the hose. They will unerringly discover a perfectly logical reason to have to go over the water, under it, or through it, but never around it.
Once, while I was watering my garden, I tried to avoid an oncoming child because I didn't want to change his clothes, again. Unfortunately, I yanked the hose up to avoid the child and the water hit my husband square in the face. He was less than pleased. I, of course, thought it was hilarious.
My neighbor has a built-in, underground, sprinkler system. Wisely, I suppose, so as not to attract children, he has his system automatically set to start sprinkling at 5:00 in the morning. I know this, because I am usually trying to sleep at this time. Everybody knows that it's not actually morning until at least 8:00 a.m. Consequently, when his sprinkler system kicks on, it sounds like enemy fire to my sleep-deprived brain; and every morning, at 5:00 a.m., I'm diving under my bed like a lunatic frantically trying to locate the gun turrets and wondering whether we should make a run for it. I can see the headlines of our local paper now: Writer Dies of Heart Attack, Sprinkler System Blamed.
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com