Social climbing

Out shopping, we stopped at a large store which has both a cafe and a playground.  This was the perfect arrangement for us today, as we had tired, hungry, bored children – and they had tired, hungry, irritated parents.  We fed them then let them run around, and when we left everyone was much happier.

While the Dad finished his latte, I ushered Pearl and Fainjin into the enclosed play area, then turned my back for a minute to get Babess and let her loose too.  When I got back, I saw Fainjin up on the top level of the play structure.  It had a climbing wall at one end, and a rather difficult (for a 2-yr-old) ladder at the other end, so I was quite surprised.  “How did he get up there?” I asked Pearl.  “Oh, he probably climbed up the slide – everyone’s doing it”, she replied, and she was right.  I watched several children climb up the plastic spiral slide to get to the upper level, and it did seem the easiest route.

Fainjin was very confident up there, waving to us and climbing through tunnels and such.  He would slide down and then climb back up, having a great time.  Babess loved walking around the bottom, calling up to the bigger kids and watching them move around.  She soon learned not to stand at the bottom of the slide, in case someone came down quickly.   Instead,  she’d go over to where they’d all left their shoes, and move them somewhere else.  I had to keep stopping her from stealing other kids’ shoes.

The Dad finished his coffee and came to join us.  Pearl was mostly climbing up and sliding down the slide, and clambering over the lower part of the structure.  Fainjin was all over the place.  I looked over and saw him halfway up the climbing wall.  “Can he get up that?” “He saw an older boy go up, so he knows it can be done”, replied the Dad.  We watched, and sure enough, he found the hand- and foot-holds, and was soon at the top – about 5 or 6 feet off the ground.  He seemed quite self-satisfied with this newly-discovered skill.

I’m grateful that Babess didn’t see him climb up.  She would have tried to follow, and might even have managed it, but I don’t think I could watch.

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