“Everyone else can do it but me!” my youngest daughter proclaimed, stomping her little foot on the kitchen floor.
“Do what?” I asked absentmindedly as I unloaded the dishwasher for what felt like the 87th time in a week.
“Climb to the top of the monkey bars,” she said crossing her arms and pushing her bottom lip out for emphasis.
“OK, I’ll teach you how to do it. We’ll do it after school Friday when I pick you up,” I said, pulling her in for a hug.
That Friday, we were the first ones to approach the monkey bars. She hung from the center of the structure and swung her legs wildly in an effort to try to get enough momentum to get them up on top of the middle bar.
It brought me back several years prior on the very same playground where I attempted to teach my older daughter how to slide down a pole without falling. Like an overgrown elementary school student, I had slid down the pole multiple times, never quite mastering it, but still encouraging my older daughter to keep trying.
This time I suddenly realized, again, that I needed to show, not tell my youngest daughter how to do it. So, I reached up, grabbed the bar and swung my legs as hard as I could up in the air through the middle bars until I was hanging. I’m pretty sure I pulled a muscle in my back that I didn’t even know I had.
“Cool, Mommy. What’s next?” she said with a giggle.
What was next was a very uncomfortable removal of my legs and an awkward fall to the ground. Then it was her turn. With the encouragement of her very sweet classmates who demonstrated their techniques much better than her mother, she finally got her legs through and pulled herself up on top of the monkey bars. Her smile of accomplishment as she surveyed the world from atop the red metal bars was priceless.
“OK, now how do I get down?” she asked in all seriousness.
I have absolutely no idea, I said to myself, but I guess we’ll figure it out together.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.