Tuesdays and Thursdays I like to linger in my pajamas as long as possible. I don’t shower till at least 10:00. And after my shower my hair gets piled on top of my head somehow and I slip into something deemed “comfy”. Minimal makeup is applied so as not to scare random people who may knock on my door asking for money for their “mission trip” (forgive me, but I’m skeptical). Honestly, I spend more time getting Reagan dressed and ready for the day than I do myself - and the child requires no bath, no makeup, and one quick swoop with a brush. On a really ambitious day, I even brush my teeth. Have I scared you away from my house on all days that begin with T, yet?
So on the days that all of the aforementioned primping does occur - you know, the ones where I actually get out of bed, get dressed, take a shower, etc. - I feel one step closer to human and about nine steps closer to being able to go outside. Outside. The mere mention of the word stops Reagan in her tracks. She looks at me and says (with her eyes), “What did you say? Did you say the word I think you said? Do you mean to tell me I can now commence my over zealous routine whereby I snatch my shoes and my jacket and thrust them into your hands? Immediately following this routine, I will throw my body upon the floor so that you can place said items of clothing on me with ease? Is that what you said?” And I’ll repeat myself again, in a cheerful voice, “Do you wanna go ousside?” I drawl. And she’s off.
Yesterday I placed her in the stroller and we set out for a refreshing walk. She soon noticed a squirrel and giggled and snickered at it as it scurried in front of us. I stopped so we could watch him run back and forth in indecision - which basically made my daughter’s day. Nothing says entertainment like watching small wildlife having a nervous breakdown. For me, the most entertaining part is watching Reagan kick her legs, point, laugh, look at me to make sure I am looking, and lean almost to the point of falling over when he runs behind her. Could the day get better? No, probably not.
On we go. I pulled up to the park and noted there were no other children playing. Perhaps this reveals how truly anti-social and hermit-like I can be, but I love being one of the only two people at the park (as long as Reagan is the other one). I find other children are often too rough to be trusted. I held Reagan’s hand as she maneuvered her way across the wood chips. I helped her climb a few short stairs and then told her to sit down. She slid her tiny butt down the small baby slide and laughed. And we did it again and again.
Then we saw the big slide. The big twirly twisty slide. The slide that threatens to make very small children tumble around till they’re ready to puke their guts out only to have some poor unsuspecting child come along a few minutes later and land in their vomit. Too graphic? I apologize.
Have you, yourself gone down a twisty slide at the park recently? If not, I feel I must warn you that these are not suitable for adults - or giant children for that matter. I’m not a tall person and I find that I need to curl myself into a ball in order to navigate the tight turns. I know because I tried a twisty slide in the not so distant past with Reagan on my lap. We saw them at the same time - two big kid twisty slides coming off the same landing - high high high above our heads. I looked dubiously at the number of stairs I would have to help Reagan with and noted that there was no way I could get her up the stairs and get myself down to the bottom in time to “catch” her. Sure, both slides seemed vomit-free, but still...I was ready to write that adventure off. She wasn’t old enough for that yet.
And someone really should have told her that. But they didn’t. Not even her momma. Go ahead and judge me - some of you are sitting there reading this saying “Surely, she was not such a horrible mother as to let her not yet 18 month old precious little girl try a big kid twisty slide all by herself? She’s got to have more sense than that!” And others of you are sitting there thinking, “Yeah, let the kid go and have fun. No big deal. Jean, you just need to relax.” Honestly, now that the whole experience is behind me, I fall somewhere in the middle here.
Reagan saw the slide and pointed and grunted. I placed her at the bottom of the stairs and up she went - using the handrail and walking up the stairs like a kid or something. Crazy girl. My heart raced a mile a minute because if she slipped on the stairs, I wouldn’t be able to catch her. I was poised between the stairs and the bottom of the slide - not quite sure where I was supposed to be. She got to the landing and looked down at me. I was pretty close to scampering up this piece of playground equipment and snatching her back down. But I fought it. She turned, toodled over to the two portals and decided to go down the one on the left. And it suddenly occurred to me that she might not get it. Did she know she had to sit down??? She did. She sat and scooted her little butt further forward till WHOOSH. And the next time I saw her, her tiny body whizzed...uh...I mean...zipped through the tight curves down to the bottom where I scooped her up. She laughed and clapped her hands and I told her what a big girl she was. Mostly, I breathed a sigh of relief. But she pointed again and grunted and I knew one ride down the big kid slide was just not going to be enough. So we did this several times over and over again. Every time I looked up at her way over my head wondering if I would ever be able to watch her do this growing up thing without feeling nervous and over protective.
We had such fun. Even though I’m still not sure she’s ready to do this whole big kid slide thing, I’m so glad I got out of my pajamas and went ousside. I love watching her explore and try something new. I love seeing her learn how to do something for herself. I love how she learns something new everyday. But I also love standing at the bottom of the slide, ready to scoop her up back into my arms - safe and sound.