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Friday, August 15, 2008

And just where were you while this was going on?

I always set the backpack down on a green patch  in the otherwise wood-chip floored park. Three play areas comprise this park, our nearest, the one Erin screams "Whee!!!!" at every time we walk or drive close by. One area is a for the swings, where Erin had her first swing on a swing; this area remains our first stop every time we go. It just isn't the park if we don't begin with a "Whee!!"

Another area has a low jungle gym. A narrow staircase there has helped teach her one-footed surety; a plastic bridge has given her sea legs. There are two slides, one short and straight and steel; the other long, a plastic purple tube. Erin always eschewed the slides. Timid? Probably not. She only fears vacuum cleaners. This day was no different, however. After a few stair drills and bridge crossings, she was bored. She climbed down and headed over to the last area.

This area is home to the tall jungle gym. Designed for older pre-schoolers and younger elementary school children, this apparatus has many tempting openings in the railings that lead to 6 to 10 foot falls to the chip floor below. As usual, Erin went for the stairs, and climbed her way to the top, taking her time and crawling through tunnels of opportunity.

A child approached her on the stairs. A boy-child. 5 years old? 6? Hard to tell under the massive helmet he was wearing. "She can't be on this one. She have to be on the other one. No babies allowed on this one. The other one is for babies. Her have to go."

Erin ignored him. I listened to him, then said in a tone that covered my irritation that a little punk wearing a helmet on the jungle gym would try to get her to clear off, ostensibly for her safety but really because he didn't like a 15 month old showing him up with her mad jungle-gymming skillz: "Well, she seems to be doing okay for herself here."

Punk. Go tell your mom that your helmet is squeezing your brains out.

Erin passed him on the stairs, as did I. And when I turned around he was gone. As though he had always and only been an avatar of my parental conscience: "Your kid should be wearing a helmet, dad; your kid should be on a lower, safer, jungle gym; your kid should be....hey! Where's your kid??"

Erin was already at the tall, 10' slides, watching some older boys slide down then climb up. Over and over. I could tell she wanted to try these slides, even though she had never shown any interest in the slides on the "baby jungle gym". She held the bars, and then stepped forward until her feet came out from underneath her. And she hung, demonstrating her awesome upper-body strength for the weak-ass boys at the bottom of the slide. Then she dropped and slid to the bottom.

Back to the stairs, back up the stairs, this time free of punk kids telling her to stay off the jungle gym. Back to the insanely tall slide (she's 15 months old, folks; it's like 7 times her height): grip, step, hang, drop, "whee!!"

And the boys were applauding her at the bottom of the slide this time.

34 comments:

for a different kind of girl said...

Erin's so going to conquer the world! I just hope she does so without breaking any bones along the way.

We went to the park today. The kids shooting air pistols around the play equipment my unarmed kids wanted to play on, too, thought the sign at the park entrance read "Mouthy, Ignorant, Smelly, Think They're So Big and Important, Watch Them Puff Up Their Scrawny Chest's Park". They were wrong. Because I wanted to go down the slide, too.

(I'm here with no comments, but I'll probably click this and be fourth...)

Swirl Girl said...

She is almost ready to compete on the Chinese Women's Gymnastic team.

Hope you video taped her 1st gold medal.

Robin said...

Erin for President..I'm just sayin.

Mel, A Dramatic Mommy said...

I let my so go on the "big kid" stuff when he was little. He was (and is) fearless. I didn't want to let my nervousness slow him down or put fear in his mind. He gives me a heart attack almost every time we go to the park. Congrats to Erin! Next, the Fireman's Pole.

The Yummy Mummy Cooks Gourmet said...

No babies allowed? Puh-lease. Somebody send that little helmet-head back to the sand box.

Erin rocks. You go girl!

Missy said...

Whoo! Go Erin! I love the slides, they're the best. And the swings. It's a tie.

mamachiro said...

she sounds just like mariah was... a fearless climber from the moment she could walk... people used to freak out at me, how could i let her go so high, *how old is she???, etc-- and i just had to smile and say, "she's got it", like you. here's to raising amazing girls and watching them turn into strong women!

Middle Aged woman said...

That's right boys! There's a new game in town!

Mrs. Schmitty said...

Girls Rule, Boys Drool!

Jenni said...

Go ahead on, little sister!

And way to go Dad, for not letting her get pushed around.

Rattling The Kettle said...

Since he was wearing a helmet, you really should have smacked him on the head.

Jennifer said...

All right! Good girl for not being intimidated by the Big Kid stuff at the park :)

anna said...

Way to go, Brave Girl Erin!

Redneck Mommy said...

It's cute when you put your big boy undies on and get all over-protective of your baby girl to the little boys who wear sensible helmets.

Enjoy that now, because it won't be long before Erin is rolling her eyes at you and telling you to "Shhh, Daddy. You are chasing all the cute boys away."

Something tells me you are in a whole boatload of trouble as she gets more independent. heh.

crazymumma said...

I know! I cannot believe the upper body strength of small children. I weep and pee myself trying to do one chin up and they are all over it.

Plus, that no fear of heights thing?

Go Erin!

MereCat said...

That is amazing! My kids are two months older than Erin and wouldn't dream of attempting that on their own. Dad, you are in for it! She's a fireball!

Bejewell said...

That helmet kid obviously had issues. Did you yell, "At 5 or 6 you should really know proper promoun and verb usage, dumbass
!! Why don't you go get some freakin' grammar skills and then we can talk?!?"

I would have.

P.S. You're screwed now that she's discovered the slides. I can't keep my 15 month old off of them.

P.P.S. Your captcha is trying to kill me.

mamatulip said...

She's got those boys wrapped around her little finger, much like she does you.

;)

Fear and Parenting said...

Good for her. Next step - uneven bars!

Issas Crazy World said...

That kid will be the one yelling at random strangers for cutting in non-exsistant lines in a few years.

There are rule makers and rule breakers in this world. Rule breaking is so much more fun. Besides there's no crying in baseball. Oh wait that makes no sense. Ah well.

Jerri Annq said...

TAKE THAT PUNK

Jenn said...

Seen your comment over at her bad mother about the Canadian thing. I feel the same way as alot of the people leaving comments about it. Sounds like your little one can show those boys a thing or two ! Well maybe with the helmet on he wouldn't see what was going on anyway !

Fiesty Charlie said...

Congrats on having a kick ass daughter!!

I love it!

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I've got a little bling for you over on my blog.

kittenpie said...

I love how fearless they are when they are that age, letting nothing stop them. I always figured my job was only to show Pumpkinpie how to scale those ladders one foot after another, knee first at the top, not to tell her they were not for her. Hopefully that weenie was wearing a helmet because he rode over on his bike...

mamadance said...

Of course she rocks...her name is Erin. :)

Anissa Mayhew said...

Way to rock one for the toddlers, Erin! And kuddos to you for not kicking a 5 year old in the junk, helmet or not..takes strength of character.

Tracey said...

Ohhhh, yeah. That was my girl at that age. And she is STILL a daredevil.

Get ready, cuz it's a crazy ride!

Heather said...

I took my nieces to a playgorund last week that had one of those fireman pole things. Oh man, the heart attack I nearly had when one of them ran straight over to that thing. It was an 8 foot drop and no way could she hold onto the pole and slide down without falling. We won't be going back to that one.

michelle lamar said...

When she rules the world, I only hope she rules her dad's blogging friends well and gives us pretty shoes. She rocks.

michelle lamar said...

PS-Mom Brag alert: My 10 year old is very tiny, played on a "fun girls" basketball league last year, supposed to be not competitive. Girls on the other team were taunting, said "Is your team a MIDGET team, some of the players are so SHORT" kind of crappy girl stuff. My daughter spun around and went up to the biggest girl and said:
"Are you LOOKING IN A MIRROR? Cuz I know you're not talking to ME!"
*Sigh* 4th grade Catholic school girls basketball league smack down! Thought Erin would like thatstory. Sorry it's long.

Backpacking Dad said...

FADKOG: First!! Seriously, I hope the slide was totally awesome.

Swirl Girl: I think she's too old.

Robin: I can't even imagine what she'd do as president. "Mine. Mine. Mine. Let me jump on you and laugh." Hmm. Maybe she'd be like most presidents.

mel, a dramatic mommy: You said "pole". (It's juvenile, but my wife would kill me if I let that one go :} )

the yummy mummy cooks gourmet: seriously. Or perhaps the big Nerf room.

missy: and also the stairs.

mamachiro: here here.

middle aged woman: And it's called "you can't keep up with this".

mrs. schmitty: from experience, I think girls also, in fact, drool. at least when they're smaller.

jenni: no one puts Baby in the corner.

rattling the kettle: no, since he was wearing a helmet I really should have kicked him in the nads.

jennifer: let's just hope she can always ignore that stuff.

anna: thank you.

redneck mommy: cute boys? yeah, they're going to have to be cute, smart, polite, funny, and responsible. Or just very very sneaky.

crazy mumma: they're like monkeys

merecat: just start hurling them down the slide and see if they would rather do it on their own :}

bejewell: my captcha?? what the hell is that? I have nothing to do with that.

mamatulip: I don't know what you're talking about.

fear and parenting: she's going to rock the vault.

issas crazy world: made sense to me.

jerri annq: word

jenn: I'm still not sure where his parents were.

fiesty charlie: me too :}

tootsie farklepants: why thank you :}

kittenpie: oh, god, I'm not ready for laddres. But I think she is.

mamadance: :}

anissa mayhew: seriously. came close.

tracey: I can't wait.

heather: first, you said "pole". Second, I think she'd be okay on one of those. As I said, she has wicked upper body strength.

michelle lamar: that's awesome. I hope Erin does the same thing if ever confronted with that kind of taunting. And then I hope she says "where is your dad? I want to give him a piece of my mind for not playing with you enough when you were a baby."

ALI said...

go erin! love a girl who doesn't get pushed around!

creative-type dad said...

That's cool!

You should have her lift you. She might amaze you...