Its Shakir's birthday and the kids had a blast. They woke early and were pretending to be a van driver and the conductor. It is amazing what children pick up when you think they're oblivious. I noticed that Jaheim was the driver and Shakir was the conductor. Several times, the van stopped to pick up passengers and I could hear Shakir telling the people to come quickly. I think it must have been a ZR they were driving because I noticed that Shakir was unable to stand upright in the vehicle. When I heard him ask Jaheim if the police was behind them, I knew it was time to put an end to the game, so I found two scarves and tied up their heads so they could play pirates instead. The game was decidedly less action-packed, but they had miniature pirates and a toy pirate ship and even some armed bandits from the wild west put in an appearance. If I hadn't been busy, I would have had to join in the play.
Anyway, later in the day, we met up with a cousin whose son will be celebrating his birthday on Monday. We took the boys to Chefette for a treat and play park fun. I told Shakir to keep an eye on his brother and sent them on their way. Asking Shakir to keep an eye on his brother in the midst of having fun is a futile exercise. The truth is, despite my words to Shakir, I usually I say a prayer that neither of them get hurt and try to forget that they're even around. I know a few of you are probably gasping at my audacity right about now, but believe me, you have to step back sometimes and allow the children to be... well, children. As parents, we're supposed to prepare them to be independent and we can't do that by hovering. Think of all the different stages they have to go through in life, starting with school. You can't be there all the time.
So as I'm sitting there making conversation with my companion, I notice Jaheim climbing the steep ladder to the third and highest level, close behind his brother and cousin. Now, if it had been the first time I had seen him do this, I would have probably had my heart in my hand, so I suppose I could understand people marvelling at him. But there is his brother urging him on like its no big deal and I find myself thinking how as adults we let fear paralyse us, but not kids. Soon after, Jaheim goes off on his own enjoying himself alone, sliding and jumping. With each shenanigan, he shouts, "you see what me just do, mummy?" It is while he is yelling this that a boy comes down the slide and bounces him. It was a clear accident and he was extremely apologetic. Jaheim responds by pointing a finger at him, his face bent, and in a loud, stern voice, he says, "don't do that again."
The boy and his companion, clearly stuck at the sight of this tiny boy with attitude, paused for a heartbeat and apologised some more. Then, as Jaheim proceeded to climb up the slide the wrong way, I heard one say "gimme a knock." They knocked each other, high-fived and the matter was solved. At the end of it, I found myself thinking, not for the first time, that Jaheim is not easily intimidated. I also wondered at how easily children solve their differences sometimes. Why can't adults do the same?
Allison is mother to two active boys who challenge her on a day to day basis with their escapades. In her other life, Allison juggles a regular day job as a marketing executive in a health food organization. At night, when everyone is asleep, she dreams of being a fulltime writer and super hero.