On the first day that Gabe came to play with us at the white house, we decided to take a bike ride to the park. Edie and Adele both really like Wright park in the Stadium District of Tacoma, because it has a duck pond, a great climbing area, lots of parkish natural spaces, and even a conservatory with tropical plants. But it was Monday, so the conservatory was closed. Anyway, we all went out to the bike and got ready to go. In this picture, we were feeling silly with all the safety straps. Right after that, we put our helmets on, because of course we never ride bikes without helmets.
One of the great things about Wright Park is that lots of other kids like it too! We were trying out the swings when we first got there, watching the spray ground fountains, and wishing we had brought our swimsuit. Then a bunch of other kids stormed onto the play structure! We raced over to see what they were up to. Turns out there was a princess with her pet baby bear and her pet cat, and also some flexible performers who tried a bunch of roles. Gabe got a great chance to play along as a dragon, and he and the baby bear explored some problem solving techniques for play land. Edie joined the play as an Edie, which is a fantastical creature that mostly watches princesses to figure out how to do that princessy stuff.
When we all got a little worn out, we headed around the duck pond for some nature and chasing. On the way there, we luckily discovered a squirrel to chase, who led us on a crazy adventure through the horseshoe pits. Finally, we arrived at the pond and shared some snacks. We only shared our snacks with each other. Not the ducks. Because of course the sign says not to.
On the whole it was a great adventure for making new friends, practicing important play skills, checking out our community, and getting used to our routine and rules for working together.
A great book we always like reading after Wright Park is “Make Way for Ducklings,” by Robert McCloskey, which deals with a family of ducks who live in a park pond that is startlingly similar to our own park pond. Except Wright Park needs one of these swan boats:
I don’t want to go to the dentist. No. I want Aunte Erin. I have wound on my mouth. Okay. Dentist uses a tool. What happened to the dentist? I open wide. AAAAA.
Now lets go to the park. Look! My mama duck! Hi baby ducks! It’s cute. I want to hold it. Come here baby duckling.
What happened that lady? I go in a swing. Look! Fire truck! I want to see. Mmm. Little green lights. A helmet! I see the fire truck at the park. Let’s get in it.
Let’s go on a walk. Shall we drive scooters? I don’t want my shoes. My pink sandals, I take them off okay. I don’t want to stand on it. Go up the hill.
At the park it’s sprinklers. Don’t go in it kids. Too cold. Mama I want my swimsuit.
I see Edie right there. I want to snuggle you, Mom. Flowers and fishes. Flowers and fishes. One seven eight nine. Eight nine eleven flowers right there. Pink, pink. Good. It smell good. Those smell good and those smell good. What’s this, Mom? What’s this on my foot?
I don’t know. I got little owie. Two owies. One seven eight nine. Wee wee wee home.
Edie in a coat. Little cups. Throw it in the pond. I don’t know fish food. Yeah. Share one with me. Thank you. I like you. I feed the fishes too.
Run up to Wright Park. It’s climbing. Play a music. Mama, ride on this toy. I slide down it! I jump off it! I run away!
A mama duck and a daddy duck. Two daddy ducks. Fern, fern, daisy, dandelion. Here you go Mama. No Os, ducks. It’s my cheerio. No. Edie eat it. Don’t pick a daffodil. Smell a pink flower. A rhododendron.
A squirrel! A squirrel! It on a grass! Catch it! I catch it. A squirrel up a tree, mom.
I bring my doctor bag. My cuff, my squeeze. Thirty eight. Okay. Healthy. Cough cough. No! No! Don’t look at me! No listen stethoscope! No belly! No back! Cold! Don’t touch me, go away, no doctor, no Mama!
No deep breath. Okay, read book. Okay, be calm. Are you all done? Are you all done! Climb up table. Mama, where doctor go? No doctor, okay. Read a book time. Go a park.
Ducks eat my muffin. Mama duck, daddy duck, daddy duck. Come here duck. Mama, it’s come here! Quiet, shhh. Duck under me. Duck under bench. Duck swimming in pond.
Go on swings. Spider style! Edie and Mama, Edie and Mama, spider style! Go on this one. Go on slide. I’m happy now.
We came to Tacoma and Anty Rachel was running here! But then she ran away. Oh well.
We walked over to the pond. Ducks! Seagull! Squirrel! Kick leaves. Big truck. Toys.
Swing swing gibbon. Push mama! All done. Swing push? Okay. All done. There is a certain point when it just gets too high for me.
Slide. Climb. Rock! Climb; stand up, hand, jump. Woooo! Rock rock rock. Hand, jump. Kid! Wahoo! Big! Self! I show Mama the other kids, then I point to myself. Kid. Big girl. I mean, I am really not a baby now.
I climb all the way up on the toadstools, all six. Self. Jump. Hand? Mama says no hand. She helps a little when I loose my balance but mostly I do it by myself. We talk to some neighbors, and I go up and down slides. Some kid yells a tease far away; I pick up the refrain. Nanananananana! A little more rock climbing, some play beads… This is a total triumph for me. Mama asks if I want to see ducks again. Byebye toys, I sing over and over. Byebye toys.
We got up so early to drive in the truck with Da. We drove under the lamps in the dark and came to his work. I thought maybe we would go to the zoo because that’s what usually happens.
But instead, we come to this cool Tacoma park. I check out the playground, which has big music instruments and also five different slides. I’m awesome at slide. Mama walks with me around the structure, and then we stroll over to the duck pond. It is really big, with a bridge and a willow and everything. I watched the ducks and squirrels and dogs coming out for morning walks.
“Food,” I tell Mama. “Please?” So we walk up to Satellite Cafe and have a giant scone and a little chai. The chai is too hot for me. I tell Mama I need a potty, but she is lost and we don’t quite make it. Oh well. I have my disposable unders on.
We walk back to the playground and I investigate more fully. Going up slides does not work so good. Some other little kids are here now and I watch, but I’m not really here to chat.