Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mastering the rings

About a week ago my parents moved back up to Washington. The boys were little when they left the state, so it was a really big deal for our family to have them back near us again. After the actual move was over, we went over to their new place for a social visit. The boys were getting antsy because it was sunny, so we opted to have them go outside to run around for a few minutes. Titan took them out and the boys ran down toward the end of the street. And that’s when they saw it. A playground. A brand new playground. The boys came running back to the house bubbling with excitement and literally dragged me outside with them so that I could see it.
The playground is fairly well hidden and you wouldn’t necessarily know it was there unless you were exploring. The play equipment looked virtually unused! It was beautiful. In a park-like setting, it came complete with a barbeque pit, picnic table and park benches. I was astonished. They ran over to the big toy as fast as they could and immediately began climbing around.
These are similar to the rings Monkey played on.
Monkey saw the trapeze rings. They have been his nemesis for some time now. He loves the sensory input his body gets when he is hanging in the air. But, he lacks the motor planning and coordination to fling his body in the properly sequenced movements to make it across on his own. That is, until that special day at the new playground.
He was eager to make it across the rings that evening. There was a determination I hadn’t quite seen in him before at other playgrounds in times past. I think the difference was there were no distractions. There was no one else around except for our family. The playground was new to us, so it was novel and exciting. He wasn’t competing to play on the same equipment with other kids who were more adept at playground politics, or who had already easily mastered all of the toys. It was just him, Prince Charming, Titan and me.        
Titan has a distinct advantage for helping the boys with playground stuff because he is very tall. He can hold Monkey comfortably while he is suspended in the air trying to play on the various pieces of equipment. Monkey grabbed a hold of the first ring and swung himself out toward the next ring. He has always had a fear of letting go of one hand to swing toward the next ring. That, and rocking your body forward is a hard thing to coordinate while letting one hand go and getting it to the next ring in a safe manner.
Titan held Monkey by the torso and moved him through the motions for the full length of the set of rings. They repeated this as they made it back to the original starting point. Then, Monkey gave it a try by himself with Titan standing right next to him to help if needed. And guess what? He did it. All by himself! My mouth was open in astonishment. I couldn’t help but applaud his efforts. I sat there and cheered and clapped the entire time it took him to get across. It was so thrilling for him!
I could tell he was deeply satisfied with his accomplishment by the huge grin on his face. He immediately took another go at it and did it again. And like before, I was a clapping and hollering fool. I was so proud of my boy. And he was proud of himself. I love celebrating those small moments, like mastering the rings on the playground. What a joy!
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