Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The playground mentality

This morning, I took Patrick and Lilly to a local playground (over a mile, all uphill, but that's another story).  There were lots of kids, which I loved; the twins have gotten much more confident, and were interacting, climbing on everything, and sliding by themselves.

Keeping tabs on two toddlers at a playground is hard, especially once they decided they wanted to go to the big kids' one rather than the toddler version.  A handful of times, I'd help one climb a ladder, only to realize the other was waiting on me to help cross a bridge.  Lilly loved the bouncy bridge, but wasn't the greatest at hanging on.  A mom with a three-year-old and a baby in a front carrier was by the bridge, too, since her son also liked it; two or three times, she put out her hand to make sure Lilly wasn't going to fall.

At one point, another mom came over, looked around, and said, "Have you guys seen my daughter?  She was playing right here thirty seconds ago...in black pants and a pink shirt...Maggie!!!"  We all started calling, and not ten seconds later, a voice piped up from inside one of the slides, and a pink-shirted girl popped her head out.

What I love about the playground mentality, where to a degree all the parents watch all the kids, is that it's a microcosm of the idea that it takes a village to raise a child.  I'm a huge fan of that idea.  Obviously, I'm not going to drop my kids off and leave, but I love the peace of knowing that while I'm catching Lilly at the bottom of the huge slide, chances are good that Patrick is within two steps of another adult, who will in all likelihood not hesitate to help him should he need it.  And chances are, when I'm done catching Lilly, I'll be helping someone else's kid climb a ladder.

I'm not part of the Borg, but in some ways, I love the collective.

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