Monday, October 16, 2006

Playground Reflections

I like having lived in the same neighborhood Theo's whole life (all three years of it). Having gone to the same playground for the three years, yesterday I sat and pondered. There's not much else to do when you're watching your kid play at the park.

I reflected on the past few years of going to that playground. I have pictures of little Theo, not knowing how to walk yet, making his first attempts to climb the ladder that he now scurries up.

While these days I give myself a hernia trying to lift Theo on to the swing, once baby Theo was so tiny he looked like he could slip through one of the leg holes on the swing. He still has no desire to go on the big kid swing, even though he's able.

This photo is from Aunt Gloria, taken in Bayside when Theo was much wittwer

At the playground, there's a bridge that is made up of steps on different levels. I remember Joe teaching him how to go across, slow and steady. We were so proud when he learned the balance required. Now he flies across the bridge as though it were a sidewalk.

There's a once-beloved tunnel and kiddie slide that now goes un-noticed.

The games have changed too. Once Theo couldn't wait to get to the park so he could practice just climbing the steps. I was looking forward to the day I could just sit on a bench and watch him play, and not have to take every step with him. (And sure enough, I am very happy now to plop my lazy butt down while he goes off and does his thing.)

I took him on the slide as a baby, when he couldn't even sit up. He would just lie there and slide with my help. Eventually he could slide on his own, but he couldn't figure out that you need to lift your sneakers slightly or you won't get too far. But now he's the slidemaster. Climbs effortly up the slide, slides down backwards - he can do it all. Although once, I saw older boys go down the slide on their skateboards - I really hope he never tries that. But I'll worry about that when the time comes.

Playgrounds are interesting. For little kids they provide fun in the purest. Then, for older kids they're just a place to go, especially in a suburban neighborhood. When it gets dark, it's a good place to be naughty. My friends and I tried our first cigarette at a playground. As a teen, I went to a playground to kiss my boyfriend. And now, I'm back at playgrounds as a mom. Many old people come to just sit and observe. The playground really does have its place throughout the entire life cycle.

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