Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Social Climbing

Do you remember the day you became socially dispensable on the playground?

For quite some time now, any trip to the neighborhood playground has included either myself, Mrs. LIAYF, or both of us hovering around Lukas to make sure that his attempts to climb, jump, or slide didn't end up like a scene from, Trauma - Life in the ER.

Perhaps being first time parents we often took things a bit too far by climbing around on the equipment with him, providing our own form of entertainment and encouragement while our little man learned to navigate the ups and downs, both physical and social, of the Jungle Gym.

Up to this point we have yet to sit back in one spot and watch with confidence as our son climbs from one side of a tall structure to the other secure in the knowledge that he is properly aware of the inherent dangers that it possesses. As a result of this constant presence and interaction, we have most often been our son's social entertainment at the playground too.

However, while arriving a local park this past weekend I was intently engaged in conversation with my lovely wife. Lukas immediately ran over to a playground boat complete with foam 'water' surrounding it and began pretending he was the captain and he had fallen overboard.

Then after a few moments I tuned in to what he was saying and heard him call out "Oh, I fell over board. Someone come and save me!" "I'm coming son. I'm coming to save you!" I called back. But Mrs. LIAYF stopped me and pointed over to an unfolding scene. Another little boy a bit older than Lukas came over and grabbed his hand and led him back into the boat. They then repeated the scene with reversed roles.

Sure, it was a pretty cute moment. But it was a tiny bit sad to me at the same time. I realized that it was just one more in the series of events that constitute my son becoming independent from his parents. Of course there will be many, many more along his journey to adulthood and each will also be bittersweet in their own regard.

I know most of my readers have tread these very waters - on multiple occasions. It's all part of watching your child grow and become their own person. But do you remember these little moments? Will they eventually blur all together? I think one good thing about writing in this format, itself in the moment, will be to help me remember these moments for what they were.

And, just as I was contemplating those very facts, Lukas was climbing the play structure. He waved me over and said "Daddy, you stay here behind this screen!' "Why Buddy?" I responded.

"Because, I am going to wope you and cage you! Dats why!"

Perhaps I am not socially dispensable after all. Well, not just yet anyway.


CWBuckley said...

Great post. We move back and forth, often moving back toward my indispensability as our second child's arrival nears.

I'll miss it.

At the same time, I can't help feeling peeved hoe often I'm the one dad climbing on the bars with EVERYONE'S kids while other indispensable fathers sit on the sidelines texting.

SciFi Dad said...

For me, it's not the moment I notice the change, but the experience before the change that I remember.

For example, I don't remember my daughter washing her hands by herself for the first time, but I remember the ritual of helping her wash her hands that we did after every park visit.

Jason @ The Devoted Dad said...

I agree that we all do go through this feeling of watching them grow. I like this medium of "journaling" for the same reason. As I watch our son and daughter grow, while I am also sad to see their previous stage pass by, I wouldn't trade who they are today for anything. I'm told that might change when they hit the teenage years. -Jason

ericdbolton said...

I don't look at it as sad, but more being proud of them.

With five kids, less attention needed for one is always appreciated. :)

EdathomeDad said...

My kids three and I'm still close by when she is on the playground. I wish I started my blog earlier because even though she's three the memories are starting to blur together.

Doug @ Daddy's Tired said...

We're trying very hard to let our daughter develop some independence when she plays, it's difficult though because you never know how much independence is too much, or if you're smothering...Seems like you're doing a good job, good post.

Ben said...

I took my son to one, of those three-storey soft play centres a few weeks ago, and was watching him as I drank a cup of coffee. Suddenly, for some reason, he began to cry.

Suddenly, I turned into some kind of nerdy James Bond, swinging and diving my way through foam blocks and holes in nets to get to him. I got there in record time!

Mrs. M said...

He's always going to need his dad for something, just hopefully not money. :)

Jack Steiner said...

The blog has really helped me record some of these moments. So much happens that you do start to forget.

When I started blogging my son was 3.5. That was six years ago so much as I want to say that it sticks with you, it doesn't.

But this place will help, you'll find it makes it easier to remember.

PJ Mullen said...

That day hasn't come yet for me, but I'm sure it is rapidly approaching. I'm just looking forward to the day where the mother's at the park aren't looking down their nose at me for being there.

Irrational Dad said...

Who the hell gave these kids permission to go and grow up?!?

Tyler hasn't gotten there yet, but he's on his way to showing more and more interest in other kids. Sad, but awesome.

Captain Dumbass said...

A couple of years ago I took the first seven months of my blog, posts and pictures relating to the kids, and made them into a book. I'm going to keep doing it so I have something I can go back to later on.

Keith Wilcox said...

Yeah, I guess it is one of those sad little moments that happens and then is quickly forgotten. But, now that you mention it, I think I do remember the first time it happened. I remember sitting there thinking, gee, I'd really like to climb that thing with the boy, but he'd get mad at me so I won't. :-) For a few years, playing with him, I got to feel like a kid again. Now I feel like the old fart that I actually am. Suck.

If I Could Escape . . . said...

For me, it breaks my heart when they run off all independent ... but the hubby's always proud! And, very happy too.

john cave osborne said...

socially dispensable at the playground is simply fantastic. i saw a tweet of yours that teased this post earlier this week and knew i would enjoy this post. which i did. immensely.

"I realized that it was just one more in the series of events that constitute my son becoming independent from his parents."

great stuff. and i DO think that blogging like this will help you remember all of these little incidents better than you otherwise might. that's a big plus in the blogging column. (even if the absence of a urinal leaves you a little less time to so...)

on to cry spotting...

Alexandra said...

Yes, you're right, "a great day but a tiny bit sad."

Exactly. I remember it well.