I am not one of those parents who climbs the toddler play structure, holding my baby's hands. I don't lift her to the monkey bars to "help" her across. I usually sit and watch while she plays. I probably look like the lazy parent to many others, or even the neglectful parent. (At a playground this weekend, as I sat in the middle watching my very-independent toddler explore all the tunnels and stairs and bridges and make friends and stir puddles, I kept hearing surprised other parents saying "oh! there's a baby in here!") But it's always been my philosophy to support children as they stretch themselves toward that next goal, rather than to do it for them. I usually help with words--and not many. Today there was a perfect example from our time at a nearby play structure.
"Mama, help me!" (This gap is too big for my leg to cross!)
"Hmm. What if you held onto this log?"
(No--see? I still can't do it.)
"Huh. I wonder how you could get across?"
(Well, I guess maybe I could walk on this chain like a tightrope.)
(Yes! That worked!)
Those appalled parents at the playground this weekend, when they eventually spotted me sitting on a bench, kept commenting on what a great climber Lucy is, and how confident and independent. Yup, that's 'cause her lazy old mom won't help her a bit!