We’ve had mild weather so far this year, but in the run up to Memorial Day, it seems like the Texas heat has started to come out. Jenny is trying to find fun activities that she can do with Elena, so any suggestions are welcome. For now, we’re relying on old standbys, like parks and popsicles.
Yesterday evening we had a cookout with some friends at the local park. It has a pretty extensive playground area, and as soon as we exited the car and walked towards it Elena started to shriek with excitement. She wanted to go on the swings first–mostly the baby swing, but we also did some practice in the big kid swing, where I still have to help her remember to hold on to the chains before I start to push her.
The park also has a water feature: it’s a big stone dolphin sculpture that squirts water out of its snout when someone pushes a button. We didn’t want Elena to get wet, but she really wanted to play in it. At first, she would just walk up close to the water but retreat before it squirted her. I think that this is the first time that I’ve ever seen her run. I only call it running because of the change in her gait and attitude, because she’s not moving much faster than she does when she walks. After doing this a few times, she became more bold and wanted to go right into the splash zone, but at that point I moved her away and distracted her with something else.
We spent a lot of time on a piece of equipment that had several slides. Elena gets frustrated when she can’t walk up the slides, so I sometimes lift her up to the top. Yesterday, she decided that she could handle going down by herself. One of the other adults had asked me a question, and I looked away from Elena for just a second, and all of a sudden she was at the bottom of the slide. She had gone down feet first, tummy down. But that fueled her desire to do it more. She quickly realized that she could climb the broad steps up to the top of the slide, and then slide down on her own. I was impressed. She’s much more comfortable than she was just a month ago, when we took this video:
Not long ago, Jenny found some popsicle molds at the dollar store. The problem with popsicles is that they’re so gooey and messy, even for adults, that some parents only let kids have them while they’re in the bathtub. Jenny had a smarter idea–she made icicles. They feel good on Elena’s gums, and she doesn’t expect any sugary tastes, so she’s happy. If she drips, it’s just water, so Jenny’s happy. My only worry is that someday Elena will read this story and lament her deprived childhood.