The Fearless One
Last January, Marissa’s 7th birthday party was at the Dublin Rec Center pool. It has a giant indoor slide. Marissa, at 4’1″, was tall enough to go on it. Most of her birthday guests were as well. Even though she is a good swimmer, 3’5″ Katie wasn’t allowed on the slide. To their credit, the pool will allow shorter swimmers to use the slide if they pass a swim test. Unfortunately the test had a (lower) minimum height requirement too and she was too short, by an inch, even for that. So, for much of the pool party, Katie stewed about being left out.
Something to check on for next time…
For Katie’s birthday yesterday, Chris rented the party room at Field Sports. They have a minimum height for the blowup slide, bounce room, and obstacle course, but they weren’t going to quibble about that extra inch.
Field Sports charges an arm and a leg per kid with an eight kid minimum. We aimed for that minimum, but in hindsight shouldn’t have. One of her classmates had a birthday party the same day and on the eve of the birthday party, Chris called to confirm those who didn’t R.V.S.P., and we realized we would come up (ahem) short. Way short. Chris trolled for other friends to join us at the last minute, but with it being the night before, she got no takers. The ratio of attending invitees to monstrous blowup rides ended up at 1:1. At least with our girls included, it wasn’t as bad.
Not realizing how huge these things were, Chris did ask them if two-year-old Claire could go down the slide wiith daddy once or twice. He didn’t come out and say no way, so Claire did the two-story slide with daddy. And then the bouncy room a few times.
The 27’x40′ obstacle course came in three parts that were strapped together. The opening on either side of the face was 3 feet off the ground, so the first graders had to get a running start to jump into it. Because Claire saw what the others were doing and wanted to join in, I tossed her in and followed her. The first obstacle was 45 degree incline just a foot and a half tall. Claire kept on sliding back down each time she tried to get over it. Another shove from daddy got her over it. With daddy right behind, she completed the course.
And she immediately wanted to go again.
I tossed her in but did not follow as I did not want to carry her through the course again and again. I did not expect her to get far on her own, but I wanted her to come to that realization on her own so she wouldn’t try to keep up with the big girls. Not surprisingly she got stuck at the incline again. From outside, I reached an arm in and gave her another shove over the little hill. (I didn’t want her to encounter defeat at the first obstacle.) After that she was was on her own.
And wouldn’t you know it, she did the rest by herself.
I waved to her when she reached the top and then caught her at the bottom of the slide. For about a half hour it was: toss, shove, …, wave, catch and repeat.