The daycare owner is on vacation this week so I am not. Yesterday Caleb and I went to Highland Park with a roast beef from Arby’s and drinks. After parking, we walked to the main entrance leading to the reservoir to look at the flowers. I had seen a man with a unicycle as we entered the park and drove around the one-way circle. I hoped to catch sight of him again, but he had disappeared.
We went to the playground that looks like a wooden fort or castle. It is set up as an obstacle course with things that are too old for Caleb. There were kids of all ages. Was there no school or were they homeschooled? Caleb is very social and immediately walks up to kids and says “Hi”. Sometimes they greet him and others just stare at him. He is never deterred though and follows them as they climb and slide and play. He runs after them. Yesterday he followed a four-year-old who readily accepted him. Then he came crying with a large red mark on his cheek from the metal slide. He wanted a band-aid for his knee. I didn’t have any and kissed it instead. Then he ran off again until he came crying again. We walked to the car for a Kleenex. When we came back, he started following two older boys and a young girl. I heard the boys complain about this kid following them. I couldn’t think of a way to tell Caleb they didn’t want him so I let him follow until they ran off to climb a tree. Then he stood watching as three older boys jumped forcefully on suspended platforms while a fourth boy hung over a rope swinging with their bouncing. That fourth boy’s mother yelled for him to get off before he got hurt. The three boys apologized to the fourth for his trouble but kept jumping. He didn’t get off until his mother came for him.
It was time to go, and Caleb was slowly and reluctantly agreeing to go. Then another younger boy was there and started following Caleb. He was a perfect match for Caleb but we had to leave. As we left Caleb called to those three older boys now on the swings, “Bye. See you tomorrow.” They didn’t hear him or just ignored him.
We go to playgrounds regularly. There is always a mix of ages. Older kids race around taking little notice of danger to smaller kids in their paths. The playgrounds usually have a separation of equipment suitable for different ages. Caleb may start at the younger equipment but always heads for the more challenging. There are parents or grandparents like me who follow behind not to lose sight of their child while others read or talk to other parents or watch their phones.
Playing is learning. Yesterday I overheard a mother tell her daughter, “Stop being a bully. No one likes a bully.” Indeed. That is one of the things I fear. I don’t want my grandchildren to be bullies nor do I want them to be bullied.