Dante and I walked to the park today — well, he walked most of the way, and I carried him some, but it was still pretty good. He played on the playground equipment for a little while. For all his intellectual agility, he is often still pretty tentative about gross motor movements, so it’s good to get him out and playing. In particular, he hit a new milestone today, though it’s a bit hard to explain. Part of the equipment at this playground consists of something I can only think to call “bump stairs”. It’s a steeply angled ramp with evenly spaced bumps, each with a depth of about a third of the length of his foot. There are handrails on either side of them. Kids climb up them holding onto the rails, and kids with good balance can just climb up balancing on the balls of their feet.
He was always terrified of these stairs, and he still is, but today he decided he wanted to climb them. So I showed him how to do it, put his feet on the first bump and his hands on the handrails. He started making tiny, insistent distress sounds, and saying, “No no no! I’m going to fall!” I promised him I wouldn’t let him fall, and braced him with my hands around his torso. I talked him through lifting his feet to the next bump, then moving one hand up the handrail, then the other. Then we did it four more times. He kept up the distress sounds the whole way through, but he made it, and all I was doing was bracing him, not lifting him. It was really exciting to me. Obviously, he’s a long way from confident, but it’s great to see him moving so far out of his comfort zone. He even came back down the stairs the same way, again scared as hell, but getting through it. He was very proud he’d done it. I called Laura when we were on our way home and told her about it, making sure he could hear. After I hung up, he said, “I want the phone!” He wanted to call and tell her himself. I told her he could tell her when we got home, and it was one of the first things he did.
Not only this, but bonus: he was so worn out by the walking, the playing, and again the walking that he took a nice long nap this afternoon. Woo!