Fall, and getting back up again

Dear son,


You took your first walk in the park yesterday.


Whatever do I mean by that, you wonder. I mean, having we been taking walks in the park nearly every day for the past year ? Haven’t we done nearly nothing but walk in the park ?!


Well yes, but yesterday was the first time you yourself actually did the walking. You walked from the entrance of the MLK park, up to the pond. With the help of a pink doll stroller I bought you yesterday afternoon. (Yes, pink. Can’t boys push strollers too ?)


It was a beautiful fall day in the park, cold and crisp, you were wearing a smart new navy blue wool coat and navy and white striped scarf. It really was something to see you do this, son. It was incredible to see. My little baby boy, walking in the park. I let you lead (except when you tried to go into where the skateboarders have their ramp, you were very insistent and kept heading towards it even after I tried to lead you in the other direction, you wanted to go where the fun was. But I was just afraid of flying boards).


It was funny because I actually bought you a stroller about two months ago in the summer, but it just wasn’t stable enough for you yet. You needed more of a sturdy push toy, like a choo choo train or something. I liked the idea of the doll stroller because it collapses small and so we can just bring it to the park easily, unlike the bigger push toys. But two months ago, that thing was just too flimsy for you. So I gave up on it pretty quick.


I decided to try again yesterday. When I first unfolded it, you started pushing and then promptly fell flat on your face. You got up, tried again, plop !


My first thought while I was watching this was, Damn, he’s still not ready for it.


But then I thought, well hang on there mama, he just needs to figure it out. So what if he falls ? We are allowed on the grass until 15 October when they put it to sleep until 15 April, and he’s bouncy. He just needs to get up again and try again.


Well son, my initial thought was so silly, because within ten minutes you had totally gotten the hang of pushing the stroller. You had figured out exactly how much pressure to push it, that you couldn’t completely lean on it but just to let it guide you. You figured out that it went slower on the grass and faster on the pathway, and going uphill was a challenge. You got it son, you figured it out.


That was the classic important lesson for me. Letting your child fall and pick himself up again until he figures it out.


As a matter of fact, I perhaps made the mistake of holding the stroller upright when you fell so that you could use it to pull yourself up again. I did that at first because I didn’t want you to get discouraged and not want to use it. But in fact I should have let you figure out that you can’t use it to pull yourself up, because afterwards I had to hold it every time. Ah well, live and learn.


Afterwards you didn’t give me any trouble getting into your own stroller, and enjoyed an apple as we sat and watched the sunset. Then we went home and had a squash soup I had made that afternoon, that you didn’t like.


I don’t think I told you we went to Disneyland for the first time last week, did I son ? You were very helpful on the teacups with spinning the wheel to make us go faster.


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