As with most summer days this year, Monday was a challenge with the kids. Both were at home, and the rain was coming with alarming regularity between the short stretches of non-rain (I hesitate to use words/phrases like dry, sun or settled weather, which would give the impression that things were ever far away from more rain). Having meandered through the morning and had lunch, we decided to bite the bullet and head off to the park for some swing time.
Toots has always loved swings, far more than anything else the average playground has to offer. This obsession began a long time ago, as long as I can remember her being able to smile, and in toddler world, I’m sure she’d hold records for swing endurance. She always makes a beeline for the swings as soon as she arrives in any park, and always takes an age to move onto anything else – that is if she’s not in a mood in which she just moves onto an adjacent swing until she has completed them all.
I’m not quite sure what she gets from the backwards and forwards, upwards and downwards movement. She laughs, she smiles, she looks around. She’ll occasionally shout, ‘More,’ or ‘Faster,’ the latter of which can be tricky, given the constraints of both the swing and the laws of physics. She’ll also point at distant figures who might be mowing the grass or reading a book around the playground, but most often she’s involved in her own thoughts. She will go higher than others and, of course, longer.
Whilst on the swing on Monday, I decided to count the pushes involved in me keeping her going at the velocity and height combination which she craved. I started to count some five or so minutes into her marathon, and stopped counting at the 430th push, by which point my arms were beginning to ache. Thirty pushes, I calculated, took 100 seconds, which had left me pushing her on the swing for over 25 minutes.
She did eventually dismount, and begin to enjoy some of the other treats at the playground, not least the roundabout, which needs to be spun VERY fast. And then, daddy needed to carry Toots home on his shoulders. I picked her up, thinking momentarily of all the money I needn’t spend on a multi-gym.