Toddling around the playground

Pam & Joshua must have brought the good weather with them from the States — it almost could have passed for springtime here in Vienna.  The 40 degree temperature felt quite warm after weeks where we never got above (or even very near) freezing for a high temperature.  This morning, the sun came out from behind the clouds and filled our apartment with light.  (Benjamin declared that since the sun was so bright, it must be very hot outside.)  The boys took one look at the blue skies and decided they wanted to go to the playground, so off we went.  (Which makes it sound very easy, while in reality the logistics of coordinating the preparatino of 3 adults and 3 children, along with a grocery store trip and a broken elevator, are very complicated, and although we started getting ready to leave the house around 9:30 this morning, it was after 2:00 when we actually left.)

Everything was soggy.  The ground has been frozen for weeks and the snow that fell a week or so ago mostly melted today.  But it was the warmest day that we’ve had in months, so the boys were thrilled to be outside, running and playing.  (In fact, when you’re between 1 and 4 years old, mud is a positive addition to your day at the playground.)  Benjamin and Joshua climbed and played together — they slid down the slides, swung on the swings, bounced on the seesaw and played in the sand.  They ran around together and separately and really enjoyed the day.

Liam mostly toddled around by himself.  His principal choice of entertainment was to climb over the low wooden rail that keeps the mulch from spilling on the sidewalk, toddle around on the uneven ground for a while, and then turn around and climb back over the rail onto the sidewalk.  He repeated this routine dozens of times, and I accompanied him.  He’s relatively independent, and he didn’t really need my help a lot of the time.  He was so happy just to stomp around, giggling and screaming “Gah!” every so often.  A few times,  he got ahead of me and tripped and fell into the wet wood chips (no fun).  But many times, he’d lose his balance just a bit and instinctively reach out for a hand to hold — and I was right there.  He didn’t even look to check if I was there — he’d just stick his hand out and assume there was someone there.  And then, after a few steps, when he’d caught his balance, he’d let go and toddle on.

A few times, he forgot, and held my hand for a few minutes as we explored the puddles, the benches and the slides, but then he’d break free again and wander on.  I loved getting to hold his hand as we wandered around, and I loved helping Benjamin with the slides and the swings.  But my favorite moments from the playground today were when Liam needed me and reached out, assuming I’d be there, and I was.  I love being a mom.