California toddler experiences rain for the first time and it’s adorable

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Parents capture a child's first rain in Southern California

"Water in California is like gold. We need to all be a part of the solution," dad says

CNN —  

Living in drought-stricken Southern California, 22-month-old Greyson Spates had never seen or heard real rain – at least not while he was old enough to react to it.

On Thursday he experienced his first downpour, and his parents captured his adorable reaction.

The Spates were getting ready to sit down for dinner in their Dana Point home when the rain started hitting the roof. Greyson looked up, then ran to the patio window.

“He could see it falling, and it was hitting the furniture and it was puddling,” said dad Jason Spates, 37. At first, Spates wasn’t going to go outside, but Greyson was so excited that he carried the toddler onto the deck.

Spates told his wife to get her camera. The photos, which he shared on CNN iReport, capture Greyson putting his hands up to touch the water, opening his mouth to taste it and smiling as he gets soaked.

“It has sprinkled before, but he was younger. But he has never seen a real hard rain like we had on and off for about 30 minutes in Dana Point yesterday evening,” Spates said.

California is in the middle of one of the most severe dry spells on record, a multi-year drought. Beyond the cute photo-op, Spates said watching his son’s wondrous reaction to this week’s unusual rainfall made him reflect on the preciousness of the resource and the importance of preserving it.

In fact, he said, as those photos were being taken, contractors were in the process of ripping out 1,800 square feet of grass from the Spates’ lawn. The local water board has offered homeowners cash incentives to replace grass with drought-tolerant plants.

“When he opened his mouth to taste the rain, I was thinking, some day we may tell stories about green lawns, water in fountains and pools in residential backyards,” Spates said. “The drought is very serious and people need to look past themselves and to the future of our children. Water in California is like gold. We need to all be a part of the solution.”

When was the first time your child experienced nature – rain, snow, grass, sand, the ocean around their ankles? Share your photos with CNN Parents on Facebook.