July 25th, 2012

planet

spacebaby vs. the water slides

Josie loooves water slides. They're great for her, she's a fearless little kid, she'll go down anything. We go to the water park in Derby every other week or so, they have a $5 after 5pm special monday-thursday, and they have little slides with three steps for toddlers and they've got bigger slides, 20 feet or so tubes, and she loves those too. She comes flying out the bottom and we're there to make sure she gets up but she doesn't even mind going under water for a second, she always comes up laughing, so I don't rush in to catch her unless her emergence to the surface seems a bit delayed (I read that it takes 20 seconds for a kid to drown, it's usually obvious within less than a second if she's lost her balance and needs fished out so I feel okay standing back a bit)

Then she points to the REALLY big slides but you have to be 42" to ride those, so I have to tell her sorry. Based on the growth curves she seems to be following the 75% one and won't be that tall until she's four or five years old. That's gotta be infinity for a toddler. It sucks to be short. We forget how good we have it, being tall enough to ride any ride, AND I can drive and buy alcohol and lotto tickets... there's really nothing I'm counting down too anymore. This is the peak!

Anyway we went to a water park just north of Topeka last weekend and they had a cute little kid slide, about six steps to go up it and it curved around and had lifeguards at both the top and bottom. The one at the top was in charge of moderating the queue which is absolute insanity, because these kids are all pretty much under five with "emerging skills" when it comes to taking turns and waiting in line, it was totally cat herding and cuts were happening and he was doing his best to:

1) Reject the big kids who were old enough to know better than to cut in line
2) Gently guide the tiny kids who were new to lines, sort of insane, and don't know how to talk
3) Every once in a while say oh hell with it and let someone down the slide in a position that seems to resemble, but obviously isn't exactly, their turn.

Half the time I sent josie up there I just watched all this progress for my own amusement.

I went up with her a few times and kept her exact position, but then wanted to let her manage on her own because I am an independence-fostering parent, right? We managed to teach her that she couldn't just go past the whole line, but then she didn't grasp the concept of her "turn" either, she just stood there while kids passed her, very patient and obedient and cute in her little tutu swimsuit that she picked out herself. The lifeguard felt sorry for her and told the other kids to let her go, she was usually the littlest one there because she's small and brave. There were usually only 4-5 kids in line max, and half the time no one was there so I could just send her up the stairs, and she'd take the lifeguard's hand and he'd send her down, but if there were lots of kids I just had to go help out otherwise she'd just be a statue.

It's always interesting to watch her try to grasp these "systems". wait in line, sit on the slide, grab the lifeguard's hand for help. She even got super mad when we tried to help her get out of the pool for the next go around, the water is shallow and she was walking fine and she wanted to get out HERSELF, even if it took a bit of arm strength, she's a tough kid. She just watches the others and the gears turn and she catches on.

Oh but back to the line... the moment that really cracked me up was this kid who looked about 4 or 5, who tried to jump to the very front and the lifeguard sent him back. So then he tries to jump in the middle, and the other kids are like hell no. So then he gets in the back. Another girl comes up and instead of getting in the back, she cuts in front of him. So he cuts in front of her. And THAT'S the cut that his mom happened to see, she pulls him right back and scolds him for cutting which was classic because it was the only legit cut he'd made! Isn't that always the way? Damn.