April 20, 2011
© Kathryn Young Thompson
This person scares me. Wanda is an adventurer, an explorer, a diaper-clad warrior with a death-wish. She likes to climb to the highest level of the playground equipment and run full speed towards the one open edge, stopping inches from the 20-foot drop, a triumphant belly laugh escaping her lips.
She frequently yells, “GO!” before taking off on a sprint towards vehicular manslaughter-induced death or a dive down the stairs. At least I can’t say I wasn’t warned. I hear, “GO!” and I make a run for it.
“GO!” can also indicate that she’s about to throw her binky from the moving stroller or the sippy cup from the high chair. In Wanda’s little toddler world, “GO!” simply means that big things are going to transpire and the world had better get ready.
Another word she loves is “ow-side.” The outside world is her favorite place to be, whether it’s raining, snowing or that strange elusive orb is shining in the Seattle sky. She learned to say “Ow-side” before she learned to say “NO!” and before she’d ever been allowed to spend time out there. Now it’s hard to keep her in. She can often be seen running down our long driveway in her footie jammas or bare feet, cackling. When I bring her back in, she spends a few minutes joyfully picking the gravel from between her toes.
She definitely has a passion for nature and physical activity and I honestly love that about her. She’s my first child that shows real promise of being active and fit and I want to encourage it as much as possible. Magoo loves anything with a screen and Laylee would be happy to eat, sleep and breath books. She can sit in one position longer than a 400-pound man in a body cast. Give her a book and she’s good.
Wanda loves books too, although at 19 months she isn’t reading yet, a great disappointment to both her parents. We care deeply about literacy in this family so we keep reading to her but we can’t carry her like this forever.
I was really excited by a panel at the Mom Congress conference about Physical Education and recess. It’s got me looking for ways to get my kids up and moving and it’s been nice to come home and see that Wanda already has the desire built in. Now it’s my job to cultivate it, to go “ow-side” as much as possible, to run around the playground structure ready to catch her when she falls.
It’s so easy to lead my kids towards passive activities, movies, computers and video games because they make my life simpler and then I wonder why I can’t get them to go outside and play. First I need to model active behavior and then I need to encourage them any time they show a glimmer of interest in getting active. It may complicate my life now but I know it will pay off big time in the end with happier, healthier kids and a happier, healthier mom.