We live within walking distance of three different playgrounds. This is a luxury that I revel in, weekly.
Like most playgrounds there are elements that are perfect for my peanut sized two year old daughter. Little houses, wooden cars, small slides, they are tiny, stationary, and safe. She wants none of those. She wants to play on the huge massive slides, ramps, and otherwise shakey elements that are loaded with danger and extremely large children.
And who does she want to climb on those things with her? Me.
Ballet flats and hanging tires don't mix well.
I have foisted her on my shoulder and 'helped' her swing from the monkey bars. When I popped her on the opposite platform and she lifted her arms in the air and shouted,
"I did it!" I would think, 'Oh, did you? Because I'm pretty sure that was all me.'
I have used my shoulders to balance myself up a ramp that was suspended with chains and tires while holding my child's hands in mine. An element that you would usually use hands and feet for balance, but my hands were otherwise occupied. I think we looked like some strange snuffalufagus lumbering up a ramp we shouldn't have been on.
Now whenever she grabs my finger and points in a direction I fear what is coming next. I have often re-directed her towards swings or something more nailed down. Some of these elements that she wants me to do with her she is capable of doing on her down, when I have backed away and tried to give her the freedom to do them on her own she has thrown herself down on said stair or tire and dissolved into fits of tears. Kinda emberrassing.
On Tuesday when she was hauling me by my finger up and around platforms and stairs I heard my mother in law's voice in my head intone,
"You're her only playmate." When she first said this to me it felt frightening. Like it was some grave responsibility and also a heavy burden. Like when i tell her that I can't play with her because I am washing dishes or peeing am I denying her, hurting her deeply, or just teaching her boundaries? In some ways those words have allowed me to enjoy her. To be hauled around by my finger and look down at her little sweet face and listen to her cute little saying and just enjoy her at this age.
But I would like her to be able to play without me on a playground. So moms, how have you fostered more independence for your child while still enjoying the dependent moments? Because it is nice to be needed, but I'm not going to be around forever.
PS: I'm pretty sure that the LCD on my phone is bleeing because of going down slides with it in my back pocket....oops.