Brave(ish)

Okay, y’all, my Hula Girl is brave. As in, not afraid of anything, runs around like she’s the queen of the forest, climbs and jumps like a monkey, brave. She’s also a bit reserved. I like that about her. No, I don’t think it’s rude if she doesn’t automatically say hi, wave, smile, and blow kisses to the old man sitting in the entrance to the Y. Just sayin’.

So, brave-

Hula Girl has been slightly afraid to go down slides her entire life. Her first slide was this Kangaroo Climber slide which was given to her for “Christmas” (she might have received it a few months early so she could actually use it before the snow fell) by Grammy and Grampy. I should also note here that hers is different colors since it’s a slightly older model (YES, yard sales are the way to go when it comes to kids’ toys). Anyway, it took her a full week to really get used to climbing up and sliding down the slide. She was afraid of sliding down it for some reason. We even put down a nice green “landing pad” made of indoor/outdoor carpeting stuff. But she did finally get used to it. Now she can climb up the outside, crawl through all the holes, and clamber any which way she deems acceptable at the moment.

Her next slide was this slide by Little Tikes (again, different colors/slightly different model). We actually keep this one inside the house because during those long winter months, it was just necessary.  It took her about a week to get fully comfortable climbing up the ladder and getting situated comfortably for a nice, easy slide down on her bottom. She has had this one around for a few months as well, and now she climbs up the slide itself (she learned how to take her socks off by herself just so that she can manage this feat) and jumps down the ladder part. She also feels quite confident going down the slide “on mummy” (on her tummy) and spends the greater part of her free time sending various toys down the slide before her.

She recently conquered the littlest kid slide at the playground near our house. It is less than four feet high at the top, but it does have a sharp curve about halfway down. She would not go near any other slides on the playground for at least a month.

Then, we found a new and much nicer playground near our house, and it has a couple of preschool slides- she went down those with no hesitation on her first visit to the park. However, she has yet to repeat that experience. The second time we went, we took Jonathan with us, and he took Hula Girl down the BIG KID slides. I am not kidding when I tell you these slides start at least fifteen feet from the ground. There is one twisty corkscrew one and one bumpity-bump one. (I have to ask, why do they do that to poor kids? I mean, when you go down the bumpity-bump slides, doesn’t your rear-end hate you for the rest of the day? Not to mention the damage done to your spine, brain, and jaw. Seriously, park designers. Just build a slide that’s longer and has a gentler slope. Then you don’t have to put bumps in the slide and all of us will save millions in chiropractor bills. Sheesh.) Anyway, Hula Girl was terrified of these slides, but since Daddy went with her, she agreed to give them a try. She went down each one time and then asked to go back on the swing.

But all that hesitation ended after that park visit. The day following her surgery, the Saturday before Easter, my mom (Grammy) took Hula Girl to a park near Grammy and Grampy’s house. Hula Girl met some boys there who were really kind and sweet to her, and the eldest boy (about 8 years old) took very special care of Hula Girl. He took her down the “boob ide” (tube slide) and sat right next to her and showed her how to use her feet to help slow down her descent. After that moment, she lost all reservation and went down numerous slides- straight, curvy, bumpity-bump, corkscrew, and tubes. All by herself. Grammy said she about had a heart attack watching this little bitty girl who doesn’t even really have any more hair than wispy baby fuzz still going down these huge slides built for big kids all by herself. Yikes, I am so glad I wasn’t actually there.

And then today, at the Pirate Pool, Hula Girl told me she wanted to go down the big slide. I have told her no in the past because “only big kids” can go down the slide. So today, she asked me, “Bib ide?” and  I responded, “Maybe…” She told me, “No, onee bib deeds.” (No, only big kids.) But I said, “Well, if you really want to try it, you can go down the big slide today.” “YEAH!”

She tried it, she loved it, she repeated it at least seven times. And I can officially breathe a sigh of relief because I have jumped that hurdle in my own thinking and I have seen that my little girl really is capable of doing this big scary thing, so I don’t have to worry about it any more. Several other moms, and the lifeguard, asked me how old Hula Girl is, and were shocked to hear she’s only 22 months old. “Wow, she’s brave! Is she ever afraid of anything?”

Why yes, in fact, just try waving to her and saying hi. You’ll see she’s afraid of some things! 🙂

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