Monday, June 4, 2012

A Momentous Playdate. For Both of Us.

We went to the park today, which is something we do a lot, so it shouldn't really have been that big of a deal (except for the fact that we met up with one of my dear friends who I don't see often enough and her darling son, who Josephine is quite smitten with), but still, just the park. We have done this all before.

But today was insane. Perhaps the most (good) insane visit to the park we have ever had. (Yes, there was a bad insane visit, but I prefer to think that never happened). 

We got there before my friend arrived, and Josephine headed right to the play structure. It was a new one for her, so while it had familiar parts (slides, stairs, etc.), it was still new, and also had one of those crazy bouncy bridges. What do we call those things? You know what I mean. 

So, Josephine was a bit tentative at first. She crawled slowly up the stairs.

She held on for dear life while taking tiny steps across the bouncy bridge.

And when she got to the top of one of those huge tube slides, she just couldn't get herself in. It was one of those enclosed tube slides, and at the base, there is essentially a tiny step up, so a child can't just sit at the stop of the slide and push themselves down, they have to be able to maneuver themselves into the hole. I'm assuming it's a little safety measure, since if you can't figure out how to get up and in at the same time, you probably shouldn't be going down that slide yet anyway. Okay, I guess it would have been a good idea to take a picture so you would know what I am talking about, but I was too busy shouting encouraging things like "Keep trying!" and "You can do it!" to take a picture.

On Josephine's first attempt, she was just totally confused about the whole concept, but she just stood up and went to the next slide over with a "whatever" look on her face. I imagined she was thinking, "I'll just go down this other perfectly good slide and figure that one out later." The next time, she managed to get her legs in, but couldn't get her butt up and into the slide. She looked slightly frustrated, but went down the other slide again. Next, she got her whole body in, and could have gone down the slide, but she would have been on her stomach. She hung there for a while then decided she didn't want to do it, and pulled herself out. This time, however, she hung her head, dangled her arms, and looked defeated.

My heart broke into a million pieces. All she wanted to do was go down that slide by herself. She had tried and tried and had a good attitude the whole time, looking down at me for reassurance, but smiling and trying. To see her deflate like that was the WORST. She went down the "plain" slide, and we played for a while. 

Then things started happening. 

The bouncy bridge she was so tentative on? Suddenly she was running across it, not even holding the railing. 

Then, she decided she was going up one of those crazy web things, come hell or high water, even though the "big three-year-old" random kid who was also at the park kept telling her she was doing it wrong and would never be able to do it because she was a baby. And she DID.

She climbed right up, I boosted her over the lip of that tube opening, and she set off on an adventure. 

And that adventure included figuring out how to put one leg in, while standing, then sit while simultaneously putting her other leg in the the tube, and she SLID DOWN THE BIG ENCLOSED CURLY SLIDE ALL BY HERSELF!

This would be a great moment for a photo, but I was so busy clapping and hugging and NOT crying (maybe a little) that there are no photos of her triumph. But that's okay, because I will remember it. She was so proud of herself and so glad that I was there at the bottom of the slide to see her do it.

You think of these things as a parent: the growing and changing and all the things they work so hard at and one day can all of a sudden do, but to see the whole process happening in that condensed one-hour window? It was great. She's really growing up, and she's just as determined and fearless as she was when she was a baby. I predict many heart attacks for her poor, fearful mother, but I hope I can stay this mom I am trying to be: the one who knows she is old enough to try it on her own and doesn't follow behind her and put her in the slide when it is obvious she won't be able to do it easily herself the first time. I hope I can remain the mom who shouts "Keep trying!" even when I would rather scoop her up in my arms and do something safe, like color.

And it's times like these when my bitter, cranky heart grows a few sizes. There are so many moments in which I am angry, disgusted with people, and frustrated at what I consider an unfair situation. But then there are the moments like these that make me remember there is also THIS in the world. 

There is also this.


  1. way to make me cry.

    to be fair, I was already kind of weepy prior to reading this.

    but still.

  2. Sooo hard to watch and not do it for her...I'm proud of you!!

    1. Yes! SO hard! Especially after all those months of my only job being to do everything for her.

  3. This is beautiful. Such a lovely thing to read. Thanks for sharing.

  4. OK I'm crying too before I even saw that Victoria posted that. You are such a good mom and Josephine is one smart cookie!

  5. This is all good until you turn around one day to see your 2 year old has climbed up the big scary metal slide that many kids break their limbs on and is dancing at the top. And throws himself down it while you are tying your other kid's shoe. I am not ashamed to say I peed my pants as a grown adult at that park at that moment.

    1. Yeah, we only go to parks that have things I'm comfortable with at the moment because, I'm not gonna lie, pregnant with my second? My bladder control isn't the best right now!

  6. I just want you to know that I'm now quietly humming "We Are The Champions."

    1. WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT? Adding a soundtrack, ASAP.

  7. I love seeing sweet photos of Josephine. What a big girl!! Parks can be big and scary sometimes! I'm a little weeny and follow my kids around and annoy them because I'm afraid they're going to fall off through the cracks of the stair railings or something and get hurt. *sigh* Why do they make play equipment that a toddler can fall through!? WHY!!? lol

    Hooray for Josephine and Mama!

    1. I know, I did that when she was younger, and only recently started letting her go it alone. It's so hard!!!


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