Friday, September 09, 2005

real boys climb

Nowhere does David look so much like a little boy than when he is climbing. The stairs have always been his favorite toy. At the park is "rock" wall--a sort of plastic stepped thing that is nearly-but not quite vertical. He has pretty much mastered it. There is something about the deliberate concentration, the pushing up with his calf muscles, the pulling with his upper arms that makes him look very grown up.

We were at a different park this evening. As most of you know, standard play ground equipment is now designed by people who had hamsters as kids. As adults they have applied the hamster play-area principle to children, creating large, rambling contraptions of brightly-colored plastic and steel with tunnels, chains, slides, and other toys. They are designed for kids of almost all ages with simple things down low for toddlers to manipulate and tall, twisty-tube slides up high for the bigger kids. Ad a Nintendo play-station for the teens and an HD TV in front of a barka-lounger for dad, and it would be true fun for the whole family. They cleverly keep kids away from age-inappropriate areas by making the access difficult--ladders and walls require you to be of a certain height and dexterity to get to a more challenging toy. So simple steps could get David to the little boring slides made for newbies but the middle-height twisty slide required climbing up on to a 24-inch-high platform. A helper-bar is attached half-way up the face. So David goes to this little wall/big step, leans as far out across the platform as possible, sticks his little fingers into the holes in the flooring and holds his weight while he gets one foot up on the helper bar. Then he pushes with that foot and pulls with his fingers until he can swing his other leg up and over.

Again, the concentration, effort, dexterity, and muscle definition suddenly conspire to whisk the baby-David away and replace him with a real boy.

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