One of the Daily 10 for infants is "Take Your Baby Outside" and one of the Daily 5 for toddlers is "Do something physical". Going to the playground/park is a wonderful way to get outside and to do something physical for all little kids. And it is packed with brain and nervous system building experiences. Plus, it's just tons of fun. Most of the time.
Today, it was the best of times for both AJ and me at the playground. It was almost 60 degrees and there were lots of kids there. I watched my 2 and a half year old AJ go up to several kids at different times and say, "Hi. What's your name? Want to play with me?" Most of the kids said yes and off they went onto a new adventure together. There was a super sweet little 5 year old boy who made a special point of asking AJ to ride with him on the bouncy car and the tire swing and then pushing her slowly on the merry go round because she asked him to. His equally sweet little 3 year old sister asked AJ to make a train with her down the slide. Since AJ had never had anyone ask her to do this with them, she didn't know what to do. I helped her put her legs around the little girl and hold on to her waist. Down they went, laughing and giggling together. I heard AJ tell the little girl, "we're best friends!" The next 5 times down, AJ knew exactly what to do. Another little girl who looked to be about 3 came up and wanted to play train slide too so AJ showed her how to do it and all three little girls went down like a train several times. It was fantastic! All of the moms were smiling and laughing. It was the best of times. Then...
AJ was following her sweet little friend up the ladder and accidentally got kicked in the face. Lots of crying and sorrow ensued. He felt bad and she felt bad. I held her and gave her kisses. The sweet little boy apologized and all was well again. More laughing and playing. Moms on the little horses. Kids running and screaming in glee. Until . . .
AJ tried to imitate a much older kid who was swinging on the top of the little slide and then going down. Even though I told her not to do it, she tried. And fell squarely on a hard metal piece of equipment. That one hurt. After more hugs and kisses, she was back up and at it again.
Even though it scared her to go fast, her little "superhero" friend and his sister (along with several other kids) were on the merry go round and she wanted to join in the fun. There had to be 6 kids on there (a couple of older ones too) and AJ asked them to "go slow". To my surprise, not one kid balked and they all agreed to go slowly because AJ asked them to. When one little boy tried to go too fast, the oldest boy dragged his foot on the ground to slow down the merry go round and told the other boy to slow down because AJ was scared. That was really sweet. I was super impressed with all of the kids, especially him. Eventually, they started going faster and faster and AJ was enjoying the speed. Until . . .
She let go with one hand and went reeling off the merry go round. After scooping her up and checking to make sure she was ok, I gave her lots of hugs and kisses but there was no consoling her. She was tired and it was time to go. When we got to the car and she was still crying, I asked if she was ok. She said between sobs, "I'm not a superhero." I told her that she WAS a superhero because she faced her fear and rode the merry go round fast. She wasn't buying it and said, "I am NOT a superhero." and wailed again. The only thing that would help was a packet of fruit snacks. As we drove home, she said, "Momma - I miss my friends!"
What a great day!