Choo-choo and I spent most of yesterday with my mother-in-law, Grammy. After a quick trip to the doctor, we had a whole day of fun planned. Well, the weather had other ideas. A huge line of storms developed nearby and headed in our direction. So much for outside playtime.
Of course, Grammy had backup ideas just in case, as the weather forecast made it clear rain was coming our way nearly every day this week. While disappointed about the change in plans, we set off for inside fun. We ended up at one of those indoor inflatable slide places.
Choo-choo had never been in a bouncy house or on a blow-up slide before, so he wasn’t sure what to think of the place. He decided to ease his way in, playing first with a large “school bus” he could sit in and pretend to drive. He even shared the bus with a little girl about his age, who was there with her family.
Then all the rubber bouncy balls caught Choo-choo’s eye. He gathered a bunch of them, running around to scoop up each one. He rolled them up the slides like Skee-ball. Then Grammy managed to convince him to go in the jumping around part of one of the attractions, the smallest one in the “Under 6” age group area, to collect balls that had been thrown in there.
After several wobbly steps and some falling down, my son finally started enjoying himself. He threw the balls up at the basketball hoop. He pummeled the giant punching bag-like cylinders. And finally, finally, we were able to convince him to try a slide. Now, obviously, this meant Grammy and I had to go down the slide as well. No worries, though. It was fun.
Well, no worries until Choo-choo decided he was okay with trying the bigger ones but he wanted Mommy to go first just to be sure. Remember that fear of heights I mentioned before? That also applies to giant inflatables towering up toward the extremely high ceiling.
Here’s the thing, though. I don’t want Choo-choo growing up afraid of everything. Some childhood fears are perfectly normal of course. And I don’t want him to have no fear ever because then he might do something really stupid and get hurt. But a fear of heights or of falling from high places is not something I want to instill in him.
So up I went. There wasn’t even a single thought in my head that I had to do this, to not be scared, etc., etc. I just did it.
And I loved every second of it.
From watching Mommy’s courage, Choo-choo developed his own. He decided to try another large slide, one with ropes on the sides to help you climb up since it was pretty tall as well. After sliding down once with me, he wanted to go again. I followed up behind, just in case he fell.
To my amazement, my two year old son climbed up the steps by himself and slid down without any thought except “This is so fun!” I was, and am, so very proud of him. He overcame his anxiety because Mommy never showed him hers. Choo-choo continued climbing up and sliding down all on his own, especially on the smaller ones. I was there only to make sure he didn’t fall.
At some point, Choo-choo decided he didn’t need Mommy’s reassurance anymore to feel safe on the slides. My son’s courage outshined mine, and I couldn’t be happier.