Today is Friday, which means it’s fieldtrip time for my kiddos. Today’s adventure took us over to the local skating rink where the kids got to play on their 3 story jungle gym. As is always the case when you’ve got a 1 parent to 3 kid ratio, the logistics of getting everyone through the fieldtrip safely is a daunting task. Prior to this, Kaylee has always been too little to go climbing through the equipment, so she’d be content riding the couple of kiddie rides right outside the entrance to the jungle gym and Matt or I could stand guard at the entrance.
Once the kids are old enough and strong enough to go climbing we don’t worry about them inside the equipment, they make it pretty difficult to fall and there are cushioned mats everywhere in case you do fall. Our bigger concern is the kids leaving the equipment without our knowledge. Knowing that Kaylee is old enough now that she’d want to go climbing with the boys but isn’t yet strong enough to do so on her own I made the decision to climb around the equipment with her.
When we arrived at the complex I set one very strict and simple rule for my boys. Do NOT leave the equipment without checking in with me first. For ANY reason. Three stories sounds huge, but it’s really not. Every path intersects at some point in the thing and most everything is open to the mesh outside every few feet so if nothing else you can locate someone using the “Marco, Polo” method.
The rule worked pretty well too. About 1o minutes into our trip, Brendan came running over to me desperate to use the restroom. I told him he could go and Cameron took off after him. I called Cameron back, slightly confused as to why he was following his brother to the bathroom. Cameron looked at me as though I were a bit slow and said, “I need to go to the bathroom too.” Oh, really? Did you think to, you know, tell me that??? I told Cameron he could go to the bathroom as well, which prompted Kaylee to pipe up with, “I need to go potty.”
Five minutes later, we’re all back in the jungle gym playing again. Kaylee was a little hesitant to explore at first. She was quite entertained by the corridor of boxing bags that would swing and hit you as you walked through them. They’d knock into her and she’d push back on them giggling like crazy. Once through there she wanted to play in the ball pit. I was content to sit on the side and let her jump around amid the colorful balls for as long as she wanted. Unfortunately there weren’t very many balls in the pit. I haven’t been there in a while so either they are letting the place go downhill or they just hadn’t collected all the balls the kids fling out of the pit yet.
Once she grew bored with that she was finally ready to explore. This meant crawling on our hands and knees through hard plastic tubing. I knew going into this that I am not in very good shape, but holy cow I did not realize the amount of pain that I would experience having to crawl around like that. It’s no wonder babies decide that walking is much preferable to crawling. Why anyone would voluntarily spend time on their hands and knees is beyond my comprehension.
Still, as long as she was happy I was content to crawl for as long as she wanted to. But the problem was, she wasn’t happy. As we reached the end of one tube, it dumped into a large room with little padded shapes you could swing on. She wanted to play with them but the floor of that compartment was made out of wide strips of mesh. She freaked out and refused to drop into the chamber, crying out “No Mommy!!! I don’t want to walk on the tape!!!” So we backtracked down the corridor and went through another series of pipes. Anytime she came across that same wide mesh she’d cry again and change direction. Which as an adult is not always easy to do in those narrow little tubes.
Finally we came to a tube which ended in a slide down to the ground. Kaylee was really keen to go down the slide until the last second. Deciding that I’d rather slide down with her on my lap than crawl back through hundreds of feet of tubing to get back down to the ground, I set her on my lap and tried to convince her that it would be fun and I’d be with her the whole time. As soon as we began to slide she began to scream like crazy. I threw my arm out to slow us as much as I possibly could, wrenching my shoulder in the process. We got down to the ground and she had no intention of climbing back up into the jungle gym at all.
We spent the rest of our time playing in the balls, where she had such a good time that she was reluctant to leave when I said it was time to go. The boys were good as gold as well, and I never had any worries that they’d leave the complex and go to a different part of the skating rink. Next week however, I think we will stick with an activity that does not require me to put such a strain on my body, because now that we’re home I’m definitely feeling every muscle that I used to crawl through that jungle gym and I have no desire to put myself through that again any time soon.