Today was a day like any other, except now it means I have 5 children. Eleanor has unfortunately hit that stage where she won't stay in the stroller. She wants to be out and about with the big kids because she thinks she too is big. But I have to teach her about streets, staying nearby, strangers, following directions. All that fun stuff that a toddler immediately says 'NO' to. Today we were at a birthday party surrounded by 30 families that know our family. I knew they would watch out for her if I lost track of her for a minute and her siblings were nearby as well. We were far from the street so the dangers were limited.
I sat in a chair where I could see the majority of the park and decided to catch up with other moms. Eleanor scooted off after the big first graders. She grabbed a spray bottle and proceeded to walk around spraying plants and trees and other kids. Another family took pity on her and helped her adjust the spray nozzle. She toddled here and there following big kids. Then she discovered the playground.
I was worried at this point because she hasn't quite gotten a firm understanding on not walking in front of swings, plus there are certain areas of the equipment that I can see clearly. Even so I continued my conversation while watching Eleanor climb up stairs and go down slides. I worried as she came to openings for the poles, but she was safe and continued on. She went up and down the biggest slide 4 or 5 times all on her own without siblings to follow.
Eventually, as it usually happens, another mother brought Eleanor back to me. She was concerned that she was going down the slide by herself. I assured the mother that I was indeed watching and that Eleanor was capable of conquering the slide by herself. I distracted Eleanor with a cupcake, another cupcake, some candy and juice - another sure sign that she is the 5th child. Eleanor found some friends her age; 3 and 4 years old and played with them a bit.
We all wandered back towards the playground. This time the other mother and I stood quite near the children. We were pretty engrossed in our conversation when we realized the trio had disappeared into the bottom of the tallest slide and not slid back down. I imagined they were attempting to climb up the slide and would fail and slide back down. NOPE! We discovered the trio at the top of the slide. They had all shimmied up and out the top. That is quite the feat for a 20 month old. I am definitely putting this on her college applications.