Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Near death experiences.

OK, maybe not really, but they scared me so much they mine as well have been.

In the last two days each of my kids has taken a huge fall from playground equipment. It was enough to make my heart completely stop each time.

On Monday we went to our little local neighborhood park. Ian is fairly new to climbing the equipment completely without help and he's pretty brave. So he had climbed up to a level by himself and he was standing at one of those openings they have for kids to reach over from poles and other various climbing things besides stairs. No biggie, he's no fool, he wasn't about to jump or anything. I was about 3 feet from him and I was talking to another mom who was asking me questions about our puppy. (Yes, we got a puppy. I'll get to that in a minute.) Anyway, this moms son who was 4 or 5 decided he wanted to climb down the pole thing that Ian was standing in the "doorway" to. And as any self absorbed child is want to do he decided that rather than wait for the baby to move or ask an adult to help he would just shove him out. Yes. The kid literally shoved Ian off the equipment. I have actually never observed any child do that at a park, kids usually seem to understand that it's not cool to hurt another kid and that falling off like that would hurt someone.

Luckily the particular platform he was on was only about 3 1/2 feet off the ground, and Ian did not hit the pole in question, so he just went flat down to the wood chips and he was ok. The thing that really ticked me off was the parents of this kid, who were both right there next to me did absolutely nothing. They didn't talk to their son, they didn't ask if Ian was ok, and they didn't apologize for their sons behavior. So they either ascribe to the school of "life sucks, get over it" or they were just rude. Either way I hope we don't see them again, because if their kid pushes mine off playground equipment again I may not be able to hold my tongue.

So new day, new park. Yesterday afternoon I took the kids to the big park in town. Ian was content to stay off the equipment but of course Gracie was all over it. She always is. She finds kids and makes friends immediately. Yesterday I watched her approach a kid easily twice her age and say "Hi friend, do you want to go down the slide with me?" She has no fear. So, she decided to go up this twisty stairway on a pole thingy that she's done a million times before. The platform she is climbing to is probably 7 feet off the ground, with my arms outstretched I can barely touch it. Once she gets to the top there is the scary gap that must be crossed from the pole to the platform. No biggie, except that she decided once her one arm was across that she needed to tell the kid at the bottom who was starting "NO, GET OFF UNTIL I AM DONE!!!!!" The reason she thought she needed to tell the kid that was because there was a grandma over at another piece of equipment she had just climbed managing all the children and only allowing one at a time. Which is silly in my opinion, kids tend to do just fine on their own and aren't really all that bothered by other kids playing and climbing around them. I really try to be a hands off parent at the park. I've learned by observation that the parents that are constantly helping their kids and saying "be careful" are the ones with kids that try to do things they shouldn't because they are use to being assisted. Then that parent turns their back and the kid goes splat because they aren't coordinated enough to do what they are trying to do. I have a firm rule at the park, if you can't do it yourself then you can't do it. It has resulted in tears, but it leaves me confident that they are only doing what they can handle.

OK, so I got off track.

Gracie yelled at the kid, and because of her focus on him she completely forgot what she was doing. And she moved without thinking. And she lost her balance. And she fell. She managed to grab the platform while I ran from all of 5 feet away in total slow motion. Her fingers slipped just as I was within reach and I manged to slow but not stop her fall.

Oh the screaming that ensued...... After letting her let it out for a minute I asked her to please please calm down for a minute and tell me what if anything was hurt. She said her elbow hurt, but then she proceeded to tell me in a louder and louder voice that it was That Kid Who Wouldn't Listen TO ME AND IT WAS ALL HIS FAULT AND WHY DIDN'T HE LISTEN TO ME AND I AM SO VERY VERY SAD.................. This went on for 20 minutes climaxing the entire time. Ian went and sat with another mom to get away from the noise. I was debating leaving, but I knew that would probably make things worse if that was possible. So I sat and listened and cuddled. And as quick as it was over she stopped. So I asked her "Do you want to stay and play or go home?" Of course she choose to stay. And you know what she did? She immediately marched right over to the thing she had fallen off of and she climbed it with certain determination. She was pissed and she was not about to let the playground equipment win. She went right up, crossed the gap with ease, and that was that, situation over.

Let no one ever say that she is not a determined little girl. With an attitude like that she is going to conqueror the world someday. She makes me so proud. Even though it will probably drive me to an early grave!


samantha said...

Ah, good girl Gracie!!! I agree--I hate it when parents are constantly standing with the kids and doing everything with or for them---let them be--they're kids let them have fun!! About the parents who were rude---I know a few of those---so irritating --at least have the decency to apologize or say something to your kid---drives me nuts!!!

Heather said...

Go Gracie and Alice! I'm glad that everything turned out so well. Ian is a little trooper! Looks like Gracie is continueing to learn about the world about her. Grandma

Susie said...

That was always one of my biggest fears when I took the grandkids to the playground. I don't remember being as protective when they were my own kids. I never wanted to have to tell my daughter that they took a bad fall while in my care. Fortunately most problems were pretty minor. Glad your story had a happy ending!!

April Showers said...'ve had some adventure. I'm glad the kids didn't get seriously hurt!
So James broke down and let you get a puppy? I want to see a picture. What's the name? How's it going with Maggie and the other animals?

Reduce-Reuse-Repsycho said...

How scary! Jackson had his first baby fall last week and I think my heart stopped for just a minute. Oh, it was awful! :( I'm glad everyone is OK. I'm very excited to hear more about this PUPPY!!!!