It was a fine spring morning as the father and I arrived at Happy Island Waterworld.
As we rounded the corner and I saw, at its entrance, several large cartoonish aquatic creatures smiling at me, I knew this would be a good day.
The father told me the park was made by Chinese people, something completely irrelevant to me as three-year-olds have not yet been conditioned to care about cultural distinctions.
At its entrance, there is a fountain with several dolphins jumping out of it. I found this mesmerising and stared at it for some time, while ignoring the father’s pleas for me to come with him to walk on a carpet, which is apparently somehow better to walk on than other carpets because it’s red.
After this, he told me there would be something called a ribbon-cutting-ceremony with the Chinese ambassador.
I had no idea what that is, but regardless, the suggestion did not meet with my approval and so I got that look in my eyes I get before a tantrum.
Fortunately for the father, he heeded my demands and we were soon standing next to a variety of sprinklers, delightfully decorated with large and colourful models of bears, caterpillars, elephants and koalas. I marvelled at the fine craftsmanship, and then proceeded to get wet. Very wet.
Once sufficiently soaked, I dragged the father along to a series of attractions, including a pirate ship and, most impressive of all, several dustbins shaped like frogs and dolphins.
While the father told me not to put my hands in the hole because, according to him, dustbins are “dirty”, needless to say I ignored him.
Unfortunately, the father would not, no matter what I did, agree to let me go on the park’s more impressive water slides. Apparently, I will only be able to go on them when I’m big.
I was considering a tantrum when I saw it. It was love at first sight. It was big, full of loud children and seemed to have the perfect texture for bouncing.
Despite the father protesting that “this is a water park and we can go on a trampoline some other time”, I proceeded to bounce for what I can only describe as a very long while, due to my not knowing or caring how to keep time.
It was there I met Naledi, and we instantly became friends. She was about my age, seemed unconcerned with my inability to pronounce her name and eager to accept my name for her, Mabedi.
My new friend accompanied me and the father to the man-made beach, where we splashed into the water before we were scared out of it by its enormous waves.
We did not exchange phone numbers as toddlers are not yet numerically fluent and are, for the most part, not allowed cellular phones.
Later, we found ourselves at a large, impressive water feature called The Amazon. Further wetness ensued.
In what was to be my final time in the water for the day, I played for some time in a Lilo, shouting loudly along and purposefully crashing into the many other toddlers.
It was then that the father finally acquiesced to my desire for an ice lolly, something I’d been calling for since back at the pirate ship.
This incredible product was faultless, ticking all the boxes one looks for in such a treat – cold, sweet and brightly coloured. It even came with a free stick for me to hold it with.
Its price was irrelevant to me as the father is legally obliged to cater to all my financial needs but for the benefit of those not lucky enough to enjoy parental patronage, he tells me it retails for R15.
I would recommend all small people pay a visit to Happy Island Waterworld, especially one accompanied by a guardian with a full wallet, who understands the dangers of failing to keep a toddler happy.
It was worth it for the ice lolly alone.