Last night you and I ventured to Blackburn park to play on a playground that you just love. It has different areas for different ages, so depending on your state of mind that day – if you are feeling ambitious or if you want to be independent and do it on your own, you can pick the bigger, older play area or the smaller one.
Last evening, you were feeling independent so we chose the smaller climber so you could go up and down practically on your own, with me hovering in the vicinity and sometimes with an arm outstretched when your positioning seemed precarious, but really doing it yourself.
While going up and down a particular slide, a toddler of your same size caught your attention. The thing that caught my attention about this particular child was how much alike the two of you seemed. The toddler in question was thrilled with running up and down the paths and hills on the outskirts of this playground. This apparently hadn’t occurred to you until you witnessed it and was struck by the pure genious of the other child.
You immediately became a devoted disciple of this other child and took off after him to follow him to the ends of the earth. The other child, being 3 months your senior – but exactly the same size (just with more hair and more balance) – noticed you shadowing him and realized that you would run if he ran. This quickly became a game that the two of you were completely absorbed in and incredibly pleased with. You had both discovered this game on your own and were able to play it without any adult involvement.
You both raced down the paths of the park with the other child’s parents trotting on either side of their toddler and me racing behind you saying silent prayers in my head that you wouldn’t launch forward on your face and hurt yourself terribly.
After chasing the other child for quite a distance and after he had put about 30 feet between the two of you, you became convinced that he was leaving you and the game was over. You let out a frustrated sigh and rubbed your eyes. I could tell you were thinking about crying. I gave you a little hug and turned you around and was about to start playing the “1-2-3-WHEEEE” game where I walk three paces and launch you into the air – a game that never fails to make you smile – when we both heard a little voice behind us say:
The little blonde toddler had returned to you and was peering at you inquiringly as though to say “why aren’t you chasing me anymore?”
Your face lit up like a jack-o-lantern (forgive the pun) and he smiled and you both began running again. This time – when he would get more than 20 feet away, he would turn and run back to you and then take off again when you reached each other.
Finally after about fifteen minutes of this toddler-chasing bliss, you both stopped and faced each other and decided at the same time that you wanted a hug. It was the sweetest thing to witness your two little blonde heads pressed cheek to baby cheek – buddies for life.
At that moment, you both lost your balance and toppled over. Your new teeth knocked into your lip and blood began to pour out of your mouth. You were so surprised by the sudden accident when you had been having such a wonderful happy time that it took your breath away. You threw your head back with the blood trickling down your cheek and your body twisted every which way at the pain which you probably weren’t dealing with as well as you might have been if it wasn’t your bed time and you hadn’t just run laps around a playground using more energy than you probably had to spare.
I tried to calm you down, but the sudden turn in events had left the other toddler kind of freaked out and his parents were very alarmed at all the blood coming out of your mouth. We parted ways as I went to the nearest water fountain to clean you up and give you a drink of water and lots of hugs.
By the time we got you cleaned up and had swung on the swings one more time in order to end on a better note, it was getting dark and the other toddler had left with his parents.
But the image of the two of you making such a special connection and running and that last sweet hug is burned in my brain. I wish it could have ended on the note of that sweet mutual hug. It was so tender. I can’t help but worry that you got hurt at the very moment when you were most vulnerable and open to this other little one.
I wish, I wish, I wish it could have ended with that hug!
Speaking of baby bonds - you are so cute with your Cousin Cal. You love him SO much!
You love giving him hugs SO much, in fact, that we got you a dolly that you can hug when he's not around.
Here you are giving baby a kiss:
You listen here, baby! :)
Finally, here is a picture of the inside of the card that you colored for Daddy (you picked it out, too!). You colored it on 9-10: