Monday, August 02, 2010

Major breakthrough

After it stopped raining this evening we went for a walk with my mom, who happens to live very close to a playground. Rachel knows this so while we were walking to Naanii’s house she suggested that we play at the park in at least ten different ways.

That was our first stop after picking up Naanii.

Rachel hasn’t done very well with playing on playgrounds recently but she does enjoy swinging so we popped both girls in the swings and set them giggling and whooshing through the air. Miriam got sick of swinging before Rachel did, so I helped her on the slide, which I think got Rachel thinking because soon she asked to get out of the swing. She wanted someone to help her on the slide.

I volunteered Andrew for the position. I’ve been taking Rachel to the park weekly, or at least trying to. This week she told me she didn’t want to go because playgrounds are no fun and the previous times we’ve gone have included swinging and then crying about holes and heights and things like that. It was time for an intervention and Andrew was just the guy to do it.

He had Rachel climbing up ladders and going down slides in like ten minutes—all by herself, too. She climbed and played fearlessly for about 40 minutes, even asking to take turns when there were other children in her way.  It was awesome. I couldn’t be happier about it.

She wanted to walk all the way home—it’s kind of a long walk for a little girl so I didn’t think she’d make it, but she did—and we passed an old neighbour friend who remarked how beautiful Rachel is, and how big!

I looked at Rachel. Her once-pristine pink-and-white Disney Princess sandals were dusty. Her shins bore the marks of playing hard with four or five bruises (or more), a piece. Her shorts, a lavender colour, were on backwards. Her shirt, tan with African animals on it, was covered in drips of a frozen-yogurt popsicle that she had had for a snack in the stroller. Her face was also a bit of a mess—dirt had claimed the sticky streaks on her face as home forming brown, globby masses by her mouth. She had clumps of plants and cobwebs in her hair and her barrette was falling out. A large, purple bruise graced her forehead where last week she connected with a wall after tripping (at least the goose egg had subsided). There was a dirt under her fingernails and she was as sweaty as could be. However, her exhuberant smile and charming eyes outshined all this mess, I suppose, because I couldn’t do anything but agree.

She is beautiful. And brave, too—she can slide all by herself. And did I mention that she picks out her own clothes?

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