Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Looking For More

It was her grandparents who gave us our new boat, the one that now perpetually fights its way up the wall of the wave of sand that separates the upper and lower parts of our two-level sand pit.

It rides high these days, although its destiny is to ultimately sink into the sand the way it's predecessor is doing, but, of course, it will take much, much longer to decompose into sand itself being made from steel rather than wood. So high it stands above the ground, that it's a challenge for the two-year-olds to clamber in and out.

She boarded the vessel under her own power, although having not been a witness, I don't know how she managed it, but now she stood, peering over the side. She grabbed ahold and started to raise a leg before stopping herself, unsure, it seemed of her ability to safely navigate the height.

I couldn't help myself, stepping closer, even saying, "Do you want me to help you?" Fortunately, I realized my mistake even as the words were leaving my lips, allowing me to swallow the end of the sentence. If she heard, she didn't give an indication, instead studying her predicament without looking up, then moving across the boat from port to starboard where she repeated her process of grabbing the side, then raising a leg before changing her mind.

Her face wore a look of ernest study as she then made her way from stem to stern, stopping at various points to check the circumstances, to evaluate her risk, her chances, her confidence in her own ability. Had she, as many children do, looked for my eyes then thrown her hands up over her head saying, "Help me," or "Uppies," I might have given in, although I was telling myself that the "proper" answer is, "I won't help you, but I won't let you get hurt," even though she is only two.

She went around the entire boat twice, before finally settling on the very spot where she'd begun. This time when she raised her leg, she threw it complete over the side, hanging there momentarily as she found her balance, then in one clumsy movement she tipped her weight toward the outside of the boat, dropping several inches, landing on first one, then the other foot, stumbling, but not falling.

Then, without even a moment of celebration, this achievement merely one of the hundreds she would have on this day, she went off looking for more.

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Anonymous said...

I have three girls, and I have made note to myself recently how differently I parent my youngest in comparison with my oldest. With my first child, I was always there to readily take her out of "harms way" - luckily, she was in daycare at the time and didn't get my constant supervision. My middle child was the same, only a bit less so. With my youngest, I chose to stay home during her baby years - and I find that I allow her to explore the limit of her physical abilities more than I did with my older two. And it always amazes me what she is capable of.

I love coming here to read your observations - as a way to remind myself that standing back and observing is often the best intervention I can choose.

Barbara Zaborowski said...

Brava! (to her) AND Bravo! (to you)

Juliet Robertson said...

Lovely post. At one school, where a boat had been given, the school was going to add steps so children could get in and out. I suggested they left the boat just as it was and that learning how to get in and out should be a rite of passage. It's proved to be a lovely challenge for the younger children.

So pleased you have another boat.