Today, The Five Year Old Companion did battle with a metal slide.
It was our second playground visit of the day. We’d first gone to the school playground, with its convenient location and veritable wealth of fellow kindergarteners, but ended up traipsing a few streets over to our usual haunt based on a tip that Kindergarten Sun Tzu (5YOC’s best friend who will lose his tiny hand if he slaps me in the spine with it one more time) would be there with his after-school program.
Alas, the program skipped their playground trip today, probably because it was dismally foggy out and the sky looked like it was going to piss down any second. 5YOC was disappointed for about three seconds before he got over it and went off to play, and slowly the other parkgoers filtered out of the playground until it was just me and him, and the slide.
The slide is not very big. It’s about five feet long and maybe comes up to his neck, but it is made of metal, and on a foggy day like today, the damp air makes the surface rather more slippery than usual. So of course, today was the day that 5YOC tried to run up the slide, instead of sliding down it or, idk, using the strategically-located ladder to get to the top.
The first time this happened, I heard a loud thump. The thump, of course, being his little forehead whacking the metal when he inevitably slipped and fell forward.
Notice, also, that I said ‘first’. Because this activity repeated itself roughly three dozen times.
There is a lesson here somewhere, I told myself. Some gem of adult wisdom that I should be imparting to this numskull kid, about the power of perseverance in the face of insurmountable obstacles, maybe. Or the futility of repeating the same actions over and over in the hopes of achieving a different result— thump—and how brainstorming and trying different approaches to problems in life is sometimes necessary.
Or maybe—thump—this is a deeper lesson, about knowing when something is a lost cause, and the strength it takes to let go with grace.
5YOC stumbled back from the slide, a streak of bright blue in the rapidly falling darkness, clutching his forehead with both hands for a moment before taking another run at the slide. Thump.
Or maybe, I admitted, this isn’t a lesson for him, but one for both of us, that people tripping on a post-NyQuil hangover are irresponsible guardians and should probably not be in charge of anything, ever.