Today was a big play day! Not that most days aren’t for Cameron, but it was still notable as we were gone the whole entire day.
Except the early morning part. That part I just don’t want to think about. Things rapidly improved once we got out the door though.
We started with Science World – okay, indoors, but a new friend for Cameron to meet. There’s another blogger in town, but since she’s still writing covertly (I don’t even think she’s revealed where she lives), I won’t out her here. Let’s just say she’s a mom, she’s on campus, and her little boy is adorable. Cameron and “Monkey” played alongside each other for most of the morning, but at lunch, facing each other, they bonded over chair dancing. They both stood up, sang, and wiggled their hips like mad. Monkey is a year-ish younger than Cameron, so they headed off with him ready for a nap long before Cameron was ready to quit. As a parting gesture of friendship, Cameron ran after them with a daisy for his new buddy.
Then we headed for the playground that’s right beside Science World. For the last I-don’t-know-how-long the hillside tube slide has been out of commission, fenced off. Today it was open! Cameron made a bee line for it, and I figured I’d hang back, see what he did. He’s not a big fan of slides lately. Why? I found out today. He couldn’t care less about going on slides because all the ones he’s been to have been l-a-m-e, LAME. Or so it would seem. This green tube goes down a small hillside, easily double the length of any slide Cameron’s been on. Cameron just couldn’t get enough of it. He slide down in silence the first time, jumped out, danced around, and raced to the top to do it again. Then he started screaming with pure joy on the way down. No joking, the kid spent an hour sliding. He made friends. They slide down, screaming and laughing, one after another. He climbed up the stairs, up the hillside, then up the wooden edging of the stairs – a choice that left him doing a bit of an ‘exposed’ traverse at the top. He handled it amazingly.
He was feeling daring, I could tell. When I pointed out the older kids ROLLING down the hill, he couldn’t wait to try it. I was sure at first he’d try it and either give up (it’s not as easy as it looks), or get scared and hate it. Nope! I should give him more credit, apparently. So I joined him. We rolled down a grassy slope, dotted with daisies, again and again, giggling the whole way.
Then he joined the tribe at the play apparatus. Here I could just sit back and watch, for nearly an hour, amazed. There was an easy flow of children, a mix that changed dynamics every ten minutes or so. At first one kid might be leading the bunch, then they’d split into two groups chasing each other, then merge under the leadership of another. With no adult intervention, the older kids took over turning the spindle to move a ‘train car’ along its track, endlessly giving the little ones rides. Watching little memes traverse the group was fascinating. One child would begin one by, for instance, making a ‘pie’ with wood chips. Another would grab a handful and make a pile elsewhere, calling it cake. An older child would take bits of the cake and leave a breadcrumb trail for others to follow (which was challenging and hilarious, as the trail was wood chips on a wood chip playground). Soon all the kids, at one point or another in the last few minutes, would be playing with wood chips.
Think that was enough playing outside? I did. In we went to visit the bathroom and get Cameron’s face cleaned up. We watched a show at the stage in Science World, then back out again. Cameron begged and pleaded so politely and sweetly that I allowed him “three more slides”. Before they were done, it was clear that he wasn’t finished sliding yet, and had already made a new friend. I called him over – he came, reluctantly, thinking the fun was over – and told him with a hug that I could tell he was having a good time, so he could keep playing. He couldn’t keep still he was so excited. The two boys took turns leading in follow the leader, and slid down the slide in various ways together. On their tummies, hands holding feet in a train, side-by-side on tummies or sitting, you name it.
We finally left there around 5:00. The day wasn’t over. We had plans to visit next door for a birthday party!
It’s no surprise that Cameron was asleep before I was finished reading to him, well past his usual bedtime tonight.