Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Not too safe
Not far from our home, in the development where we rented for a year while we were getting to know the area, there is a playground structure the kids have dubbed "The Spiderweb." The geometrically correct would call it a buckyball within an icosahedron, but no matter; they scale it pretty much as a spider scales its web, rambling over its ropes 12 feet up in the air.
Last weekend Baby Girl got introduced to it by dad (who is generally better at this sort of thing than I am), and insisted on visiting again today. Armed with all the affirmation from the NY Times' article scorning too-safe-playgrounds, I biked them over and proceeded to have my heart skip a few beats every time Baby Girl (remember, she is only 2!) decided to stand with her small hands on the top of the metal frame and bounce on the ropes. Or when she was climbing and hung by her arms for a few seconds before regaining her footing. Little Brother, more cautious and afraid of heights, asked me, "Mom, what does 'outclimb' mean?" (remembering a line from the Berenstain Bears' No Girls Allowed.)
I hail from a respectable line of overcautious Chinese women, in whose philosophy a child's injury equals a mother's oversight. But the article claims, and I tend to believe, that there is such a thing as too safe, in playgrounds, and in the larger arena of real life. And aren't your best (or at least strongest) playground memories centered around the now banned merry-go-rounds, rope swings, and wooden teeter-totters where you first learned the principles of centrifugal force, gravity, and who-not-to-trust-on-the-other-end-of-the-seesaw?