Last fall, Max and I discovered this cool park near the house. Max calls it the “rock park”, because the walking paths between the different playground equipment is covered with small pebbles. Most of the other area parks use either wood or rubber mulch, so this makes it a little more interesting. Plus Max loves it when I make a small pile of pebbles at the bottom of the slide that he can crash through on his way down.
The playground is a fun mix of traditional playground equipment like swings, slides and monkey bars. But it also has some unique stuff like a floating balance beam, rock climbing walls, and these large tractor tires that kids can climb over and run across. Since we’ve been going there, Max’s nemesis has been the monkey bars. He’s watched as other kids swing their way across. He’s tried and tried, but he just couldn’t hold himself up long enough to swing himself to even one bar.
A few weeks back, I pointed out to Max that there was a low set of monkey bars in the corner of the playground. At first when he saw it, he said it was for babies. It’s only 4 bars and it’s only like 4 feet off the ground. Eventually I convinced him it wasn’t just for babies, and he practiced and practiced. Right before we left the park last week, he was able to swing himself across all four bars. We tried it on the taller monkey bars, and he made it across one bar, but then his grip gave out and he fell.
We were having some renovations done to the house, so we spent a lot of the day in doors on Saturday. The contractors finished up their work around noon on Sunday, so after lunch, Max and I head back out to the rock park while Rachel ran some errands. I noticed when we got there, he avoided the monkey bars. He did all the other stuff he enjoyed, but stayed clear of the monkey bars.
After about 3 hours at the playground, I got a call from Rachel. She said she was done with her errands and wanted to know if we were still at the park. I told her we were and a few minutes later she drove up to meet us there. When she got there, Max asked me to lift him up on the high monkey bars. This set is about 6 feet off the ground and has 8-10 bars that go across. I lifted him up, and much to our delight and amazement, he swung across all the way from one side to other like a pro. Rachel and I watched in amazement. There was a little girl looking on with her grandparents, they cheered for Max as he made his way across. He was grinning ear to ear when he reached the final bar and made his way down. He was beaming. So proud of him, and it came just 5 days before his 5th birthday. WOOHOO!!
It’s so nice seeing kids grow and develop. Last year, in the fall there were several things on the playground that Max couldn’t do, but after a few trips back in the spring, he figured things out. I’m amazed at how he can conquer things as he gets a little bigger, stronger and more confident. He’s a lot like me in the sense that he fears the unknown. If it’s a new place, a new activity or a new person he’s meeting, he gets scared. But once he visits the new place, tries the new activity or meets the new person, he usually loves it.