Otter and I joined Monkey and a few of her friends at the playground after school yesterday. We usually stop and play for a few minutes after we pick Monkey up, when the weather is warm and inviting. Otter likes to sit in his stroller and watch the big kids run around, climb, and slide.
Yesterday, about fifteen minutes into the experience, it occurred to Otter that he can walk now, so really there is no reason for him to stay in the stroller watching the big kids, he can play with them. So he petitioned for his freedom, and was granted early release for good behavior.
Off like a rocket he went! (If a rocket is small, toddling, and unsteady in it’s gait.) He toddled straight toward his sister on the climbing bars smiling all the way. As soon as he got to her, he grabbed a hold of the lowest rung, and lifted his little baby leg up, and up, and up.
That’s when he noticed that the highest he could bring his chubby baby foot was still well below the first rung. He tried again, and again, and again. Then he turned his little baby face to me and trumpeted his little “help me mama” bleat.
“Sorry honey, you are too small to climb on that.” I said. I grasped his hand and walked him over to the stairs, as he loves to practice going up and down the stairs. He was happily toddling away again, up and down, up and down, when he caught sight of Monkey heading down the huge red slide. Oh the laughter in her shrieks! How much fun it looks!! In seconds he was off, running full baby speed for the slide, a full size, extra long, way too big for him slide.
I stopped him a few feet from the entrance.
“Sorry honey, you are too small to ride on that, let’s go play something else.” Oh the screams!! You could hear him argue “I am not too small! I can walk to it can’t I! Lemme on Mama!!”
It was definitely time to go. I rounded up the big kids and we all walked home for apple slices, cheese, and Goldfish. I consoled Otter on the way, as he fought with being back in his stroller, with being unable to do all these big kids things, and with being too small.
Poor Otter, so certain he could do what they did, so happy to think he was free and able to go roam the playground just like his sister. Here he is, finally able to walk and run around, finally able to get where he wants to go without Mama, and yet, still too little to do anything once he gets there.
It’s hard to be small.