The first two days of summer brought with it two days of rain. Trapped indoors, my twin three-year-olds literally began to climb the walls, the furniture, and of course, us.
Since we were both off, my wife and I desperately sought a way to cope with our toddlers’ copious amounts of energy. A quick google search landed us on the local bounce house. For a mere $12, our children could jump on someone else’s stuff for 2 whole hours!
Despite the facility being filled to the brim with glorious inflatable structures begging to be jumped on, my sons decided to spend the better part of the first hour peddling around in the same two Little Tikes Cozy Coupes currently residing in our back yard. However, when the second hour rolled around, they began to explore the inflatable offerings.
As is usual when our boys are free range, my wife and I shifted from zone defense to man-to-man coverage. While my wife followed my first born up ladders and down slides, my other son discovered a unique fixture. It was an American Ninja Warrior inspired obstacle course. It consisted of a ramp that must first be climbed by pulling himself up using small hand holds. After that there were a trio of large inflatable balls spaced roughly three feet apart. The goal of this apparatus was to jump from ball to ball in order to traverse the large padded gap between two platforms to reach a slide on the other side.
I stood back and watched my son observing children several years older than himself bouncing with various degree of success from ball to ball. It took him a few moments to work up the courage, but he lined up and took his first attempt. My initial gasp of fear was replaced with a broad grin as my child bounced harmlessly to the padded pit below. He stood up giggling and climbed the ramp again. Another jump and another bounce to the bottom. The third time was the charm. With a kick of his little legs, he made it to the top of the first ball. A quick pause for a reassuring look and small round of applause from Dad, and he leapt to the second ball. Down to the floor he went, but this time instead of coming up with a smile and a giggle, he came up and smacked the ball in frustration.
Physical things have always come relatively easy to him. So things like this really tend to get to him. He is a stubborn little fellow and can be quick to anger. Yet after his brief physical display of frustration, he climbed back up the ramp and took another attempt. It took three more attempts, but he made it all the way across the inflatable chasm. I couldn’t help it, I ran to the bottom of the slide as he took his victory ride. With tears welling in my eyes, I scooped him up and wrapped my arms around him in a huge bear hug. In three and a half years, I’d never been so proud. I will never forget that smile on his face.
I’m in no hurry to see my children grow up. Yet with each new stage in their life, there comes the opportunity to get to know our kids a little better. My son, the stubborn little three year old, turned his frustrations into determination. He refused to give up. Maybe it’s an inherent part of his personality, or maybe it was something that my wife and I instilled in him. Either way, I hope it’s an aspect of his personality that grows with him.
I also hope that as he grows, he realizes one undeniable fact… whenever he faces a frustrating challenge in his life, his father will be standing by his side cheering him on.