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When Tom and I decided to adopt The Littlest E from Ethiopia, we made a decision to do our best to bring Ethiopian culture into his life and our lives in as many ways as possible short of moving to Ethiopia. It’s true that there is nothing like growing up in the country where you were born. International adoption is complex and there are many who believe it should be abolished and many who do not think that way. We chose international adoption because we knew there were children in the world that needed homes with parents who would love them, and there were certain aspects we were not comfortable with in domestic adoption. We made a pledge to the Ethiopian government that we would take care of The Littlest E, and part of that is ensuring he knows his country’s culture, heritage, history, food, music, etc.

Ethiopian Flag

We are fortunate to live in Los Angeles where there’s Little Ethiopia, a part of LA devoted to Ethiopian restaurants, travel agencies, merkatos (in Ethiopia it’s an open air marketplace, but in LA it’s a market), clothing and music stores. Plus, there are thousands of ex-pat Ethiopians living here and there is a sizeable adoptive community. Over time, we have met a number of adoptive families with children The Littlest E’s age and they have become friends. When our schedule permits, we go to the Little Ethiopia Cultural and Resource Center on Saturdays and our son, along with his friends, attends Amharic, Ethiopian dance and art classes. These classes are all taught by Ethiopians and exist to give the children a greater understanding of their native country.

 

I think of it as planting seeds, so that our son will hopefully look at Ethiopia and the culture with interest, appreciation, and a hunger to know more. It’s great to hear him speak simple words in Amharic like “Kai” which means red, and “and, hoolet, sost” which means 1, 2, 3. It’s not just about learning language, dance and art; he’s with his friends, his people.

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We also attend Ethiopian celebrations when they happen. The Ethiopian calendar (Ge’ez Calendar) is different from the Western calendar and their New Year falls on September 11th. A couple of weeks ago, we went to a New Years celebration in Little Ethiopia where we listened to music, visited booths, and saw lots of people. We happened upon a group of young boys playing street soccer, and our athletic son joined in. He was inches shorter than any of the other boys, but he held is own and even got the ball twice. This provided another taste of Ethiopia and the soccer game was the high point of the day for me (and I’m sure for him, too).

 

In August, we attended African Cradle, an Ethiopian heritage camp for adoptive children. There must have been at least 15 children all within a few years of The Littlest E, and within minutes after we arrived, he bounded down to the playground and immersed himself in playing with a handful of boys his age. I wrote about African Cradle a couple of years ago in an earlier blog. Again, it was an amazing experience. During the day, our son would be with all the kids his age and do arts and crafts, play soccer, and go on nature hikes, while the parents attended seminars on racism in team sports, cultural identity to name a couple of topics. There were times when the older kids and younger kids got to play/swim together. We’d all gather together for meals and, in the evenings after dinner, we’d go the fire pit and eat s’mores, listen to Ethiopian music and watch the kids play and dance. There were a fair amount non-adoptive Ethiopians helping with the camp, too. It was a sight to behold when we were all up on stage dancing, everyone together. It was like we were transported back to Ethiopia. It truly was a wonderful weekend and we all made some new friends.

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After attending African Cradle, our son wore his T-shirt he got there with pride. He’s proud of his Ethiopian heritage and Tom and I encourage that. He was born in Ethiopia and it’s part of his identity. As he grows up, it may become an even larger part of his life. Awhile back I was driving him to preschool and he started telling a story – he was 50 and came to visit one of his friends from preschool. I asked him where he was visiting from and he told me Ethiopia. It could be a prediction; who knows? What I do know is Tom and I are going to keep exposing our son to his Ethiopian culture, and when he’s a bit older, we’ll go back to Ethiopia so he can see it first hand. That will be one of many trips.

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I recently met a young Ethiopian man who has been in the U.S. for over a decade. Listening to him talk about his life and his own identity issues provided me with a possible window into my son’s life, adding adoption to that. It made me realize that there are many immigrants who may have issues of identity and how they see themselves in the world, not just internationally adopted children. It’ll be interesting to see how our son identifies himself as he grows up. For now, all Tom and I can do is be good stewards and offer The Littlest E with as many cultural experiences as we can, but at some point, it’ll be his decision.

©2014 Melanie Elliott

Images: Unknown, Melanie Elliott

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We are very fortunate that one of The Littlest E’s preschool teachers this year is an adoptive mom. Her 9-year old daughter is originally from China. We’ve had many conversations about our children and adoption. It’s been comforting for both my husband and me to have that added connection. The other day at school the teacher’s daughter was in class and some of the children noticed she looked different from her mom. It’s interesting because most of the kids in class see me with The Littlest E, I’m white and he’s black, and they’re all used to that, but when the teacher’s daughter visited, some of the children noticed.

Great Wall

Great Wall

There have been a couple of questions with our family here and there as to why The Littlest E’s skin color is different from my husband’s and mine. I explained to one of our son’s friends in an age-appropriate way that The Littlest E’s skin is different because he was born in Ethiopia. I said, “You know how you came from inside your Mommy? We’ll The Littlest E didn’t come from inside me. He was born in Ethiopia and we brought him home with us to be our son.” Our son’s friend seemed to understand.

That day at school a couple of children we talking about adoption so the teacher thought it would be a good topic to discuss the next day during circle time. She mentioned to me what she was going to do and I thought it a terrific idea. The following day she brought in Todd Parr’s We Belong Together: A Book About Adoption and Families. It’s a wonderful book for any adoptive family and it makes a great present if you know someone who’s adopting. Every time I read it, it touches my heart. It’s written especially for kids, whether adopted or not, so they understand what adoption is and how it creates families of all kinds.

We Belong Together

At pick up time, the teacher told me how circle time went. After she read the book to the class, she said The Littlest E raised his hand and said, “I’m adopted. I was born in Ethiopia and my Mommy and Daddy came over there to pick me up.” The teacher also shared with the class her daughter’s life book. The children loved seeing the pictures of the teacher’s daughter in China. My son proudly chimed in saying he had pictures of Ethiopia when he was a baby, too.

I was somewhat surprised he was so engaged in the conversation and proud that he responded like he did. One of our goals as parents is for him to be comfortable with who he is as a person and who he is becoming. Adoption is part of his story and part of him and I’m so glad he’s embracing that. Now, as he gets older that could all change, but for that day, he was engaged, excited and proud.

The teacher told me overall the children liked the book and the discussion. I’m grateful these kids don’t see children of color as “other.” They may be starting to notice differences, yet there’s an acceptance at this age that’s wonderful. They’re discovering adoption, discovering color and it’s okay.

 

© Melanie Elliott 2014

Images: Dennis Jarvis, Melanie Elliott

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There are some people who are fanatical about baseball.  My husband, Tom, is one of them.  He LOVES the Seattle Mariners, watches MLB on his iPad and every year plays in fantasy baseball leagues.  He also makes a note as to when pitchers and catchers starts so he can prepare for his fantasy leagues, and he does some kind of stat thing in an excel spreadsheet also in preparation.  I, on the other hand, am a fan, but it hasn’t necessarily been my thing.  When the Giants are exciting, I’m in, especially when they won their recent World Series championships.  Call me fair weather, works for me.  That’s all about to change.

Two weekends ago, was the opening day of Toluca Baseball where our son, The Littlest E, is doing the 4-year old clinic.  It’s serious business, little league.  The park was crowded.  There was food, and vendors selling baseball supplies.  There was hitting practice and boys and girls in their uniforms everywhere with their parents.  Somewhere in the distance was a photographer commemorating the occasion for each child.

#22

#22

We previously bought our energetic son baseball pants, socks, a glove, and cleats.  When we arrived at the field, he received his hat and shirt – number 22.  I kind of wanted number 42, for Jackie Robinson, but 22 is a nice number.  The Littlest E looked so cute in his uniform and was thrilled to be wearing it.  I think it was his goal to get his white pants as dirty as possible, even though he wasn’t doing much baseball that day anyway.  It didn’t matter though, that’s what the uniform is for.

We were wandering around and happened upon a smaller baseball field.  The Littlest E walked out and noticed some older boys hanging out.  He walked up to them.  Without even thinking about it, another boy maybe 7 or 8 years old started throwing the ball to our eager son, and thus began a game of catch.  Watching this brief encounter between my son and this other boy, I got it.  That little ball is a unifier, bringing strangers together, sharing in a common activity.  The older boy, who was now with a friend, was welcoming the newest and youngest member into the baseball community.  They helped my son when he didn’t catch the ball and gave him tips to improve his throw.  As I watched, tears welled into my eyes, which surprised me.  It dawned on me that in cities across the nation, little leagues like this one are starting.  I get it now why people love the game – community, tradition, sportsmanship, camaraderie, mentoring, athleticism, competition, patriotism, and joy.

Taking It All In

Taking It All In

Later on, all the teams with older kids marched onto the main field with their coaches as the opening day ceremony began.  A massive group of teams formed in the outfield arching around the bases.  Part of the ceremony included welcoming the 4 year olds into the season by having them run the bases.  Again, this was a sight to behold, as the little ones all walked up to the plate, must have been over 40 of them.  Then the announcer signaled the kids to run their bases and with that these 40 rarin’ to go youngsters took off running, en mass.  As the doting mom I am, I filmed the entire thing.  While the youngsters were running, the older kids and parents and coaches cheered them on.  It was a fine and glorious welcome!  The kids were only supposed to go around once to keep with the schedule of the opening day ceremonies, however, the newbies had other ideas and ran around again!

The Teams

The Teams

Once off the field, Tom and I congratulated our son who beamed, eyes sparkling with excitement.  It was a great afternoon, one I’ll cherish forever, whether The Littlest E pursues baseball or not.  The day symbolized him leaving toddlerdom behind and truly becoming a little boy.  Can’t wait to see how practices unfold and see if our little guy enjoys the game.  I know I’ll enjoy watching him and the other 4 year olds.  Little league baseball is definitely in full swing in Los Angeles.

© 2014 Melanie Elliott

Images: Melanie Elliott

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I’ve been away from the blog for a spell.  Was working on a project and now have time to write.  I’ve been thinking about this one for a while.  A couple of years ago, we planted Cape Honeysuckle in our front yard creating a wall of green coverage between our property and our neighbor’s.  My husband and I read that Cape Honeysuckle attracted hummingbirds, or as The Littlest E calls them “honey birds,” and it does.  Every day when I’m in our kitchen doing the dishes, I gaze out the windows and often watch a hummingbird or two feast on the delicious nectar inside the beautiful, orange tube-like flowers that bloom on the honeysuckle vines.  It’s truly a sight to behold.  I often hold my curious son and we watch nature in full force as we spy on the birds.

Small Fast Bird

These tiny birds with their long, thin beaks are amazing to watch as they flit their wings at incredible speeds, darting up and down like Snitches from the Harry Potter movies.  We are fortunate to have at least two hummingbirds visit our honeysuckle regularly and they provide a tremendous source of entertainment for our family.  Every so often one of them will actually perch on a branch and sit absolutely motionless and we can see exactly just how small they are.  Time stands still for those brief seconds.  I’m afraid to breathe thinking it’ll scare them away, but then I remember I’m inside the house and they don’t even know I’m watching them.  Soon, the moment is over and they alight again, wings flapping at their rapid pace.  I love that my son can partake in observing such glories right in our own home.

Watching these lovely creatures reminds of an encounter we all had with another hummingbird, and with this encounter, there were no walls or kitchen windows separating us.  Our family had gone up to visit some friends who work and live at Midland School, a college preparatory boarding school in Los Olivos, California where students and faculty live in cabins on campus.  It’s an incredible place with acres of land, farm animals, a sustainable garden (among so many other things) and the students have to chop wood to heat the water for their showers.  We go and visit our friends a couple of times a year and it’s a wonderful getaway.  The Littlest E loves nature and at Midland, it’s all around us with starry skies, clean air, woodsy smells, along with great company and delicious food.

On one particular day, my son was playing with our friends’ kids (who are 12 and 16), along with other children visiting Midland with their parents for a reunion.  There’s a three-walled barn that’s been converted to a basketball court.  The children were playing in the barn supervised by Ian, one of our friends, and they noticed what they thought was a medium-sized rock on the court floor.  Someone almost kicked it away, but realized it wasn’t a rock at all, but a hummingbird that had gotten injured.  It seemed stunned or possibly dead.

Hummingbird in Hand

The incident happened awhile ago, so I don’t remember all the details, but I believe someone placed the bird gently on top of something or held it in their hand, while someone went to go get a dropper and a cup of sugar-water to see if we could revive the injured bird.  While this was going on, one of the girls, not more than 8, told us all about hummingbirds and explained that they sometimes get stunned and appear dead, when really they aren’t.  All the kids were looking at the bird, and the girl continued her impromptu lesson.  It was incredible how much information she knew.

Soon someone returned to the scene with a small dropper or tube and a container of sugar-water to supply the dropper so we could attempt to feed the ailing hummingbird little drops of sweetness in the hopes of reviving it.  Gently and slowly the dropper found its way to the hummingbird’s long beak.  The hummingbird’s beak was so tiny that it fit inside the dropper.  We made sure there were only a couple drops in the dropper so as not to cause further harm to our little friend.   The clock ticked and there was no activity.  Was it too late?  Was this tiny creature doomed?  We all hoped not, as it would have been difficult to explain the bird’s death to some of the younger children present.

It seemed like hours went by, but really it was only a number of minutes before we saw the hummingbird slowly open its eyes and respond to the sweet nectar by opening its tiny beak to drink the liquid.  It was as if we were all watching this awesome sight in slow motion.  We had to truly take our time so as not to give it too much water and overwhelm it.

Hummingbird - Infrared

Then, the miracle happened and it was sudden.  All at once, the bird fully awoke as if from a dream, quickly removed its beak from the dropper, fervently flapped its wings and flew off.  My husband had arrived earlier to witness this, so there were a number of adults present.  I think we all must have held our collective breaths because you could hear our exhaling.  The kids jumped up and down in excitement that they helped the hummingbird.

Mother Nature stopped by that day to give us all a once in a lifetime chance to take part in saving the life of one of her own, and thanks to an 8-year old girl, we all learned a little something about hummingbirds.

Images: jitz couperus, lyrandian, for the rock

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When I was a child, stars, flying and space fascinated me.  I don’t remember the exact year, but one night I dreamt I was on the field at my grammar school, and Jupiter covered the horizon while Mars glistened in the sky.  They were so close to our planet; it was the coolest dream.  I awoke the next morning and excitedly told my mom about it.  It was amazing.  The planets were so close I could almost touch them.  Then, I read in the Sunday pink section of the San Francisco Chronicle that Jupiter, Saturn and a partial lunar eclipse could be seen from a telescope at the Corte Madera Town Center that night.  I begged my mom to take us kids.  Was it a psychic dream or coincidence?  It doesn’t really matter.  That night I got to stay up late and gaze at the wonder of the heavens.  It was a dream come true.

Jupiter

I also remember in 1995, when the Hubble telescope took these amazing pictures of the birth of a star.  There were 3 Evaporating Gaseous Globules (EGGs) and it looked as if the stars were coming out of the illuminated, gassy columns.  These infant stars were located in the Eagle Nebula and supposedly the EGGs were several hundred trillion miles long.  Those photos blew me away.  I kept the newspaper showing the Hubble photos for many years thereafter.  To this day, it’s difficult to fully comprehend how vast several hundred trillion miles is, not to mention the stars were 6,500 light years away.

I could dedicate an entire blog to my love of space, writing about some of my favorite space movies: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Silent Running, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Contact, and the recently released Gravity.  But I dedicate my blog to writing about parenting and adoption.  This is where the parenting part comes in.  As parents, we get to share our love of things with our children, whether it’s sports, books, arts and crafts, cooking, movies, any hobbies and the list goes on.  When a girlfriend of mine recently sent an email that some local astronomers were setting up their telescopes on the Chandler Bikeway so that children could look through them, I jumped at the chance to let The Littlest E stay up a little late and view the magnificence of the Moon and other planets visible.

moon

I did not know of the existence of an organization called The Sidewalk Astronomers.  The night we looked at the Moon, one astronomer informed me that they are a global organization in 200 countries, including Canada, Ireland, Russia and Brazil.  Our local group is the Burbank Sidewalk Astronomers and they are out on the Chandler Bikeway once a month with their telescopes providing free viewing.

The Littlest E was excited to have a late night (by his standards) and an evening playdate.   We talked a bit about what we were going to do, how to look through a telescope and what the Moon was going to look like.  While we were driving he said, “Mom, we’ve never done this before.”  I replied, “I know!  It’s going to be so much fun to be able to look at the Moon close up.”  We met up with our friends and walked to the location.  Sure enough there were several sidewalk astronomers with their telescopes pointed toward the Moon and Venus.

We were the first people to show up and the kids got to take a look through each telescope.  They had a blast playing with each other and running around, but The Littlest E kept going back to one telescope in particular and kept looking at the Moon.  The astronomer gave him bits of information about our Moon.  I think he went back to that telescope four times, couldn’t get enough of it.  I mentioned to this astronomer my childhood dream and viewing the planets the next day.  He said, “It was probably the Sidewalk Astronomers who set that up.”  Hmmm, could be, I thought.  We got to talk a bit more and he told me he’s a teacher and teaches astronomy for his elementary or middle school children.  He acknowledged that in the U.S. we don’t emphasize science and math enough.  I agreed.  It’s his hope that continuing to offer this service to kids might get them interested in studying astronomy and sciences, laying the foundation for a possible future in science.

Distant Objects Telescope

He just might be right.  The Littlest E loved his galactic experience.  If we can swing it, we’re going to make this a monthly thing.  My husband couldn’t go this past time, and I know he’d like to go.  It’s informative, community oriented and good plain fun.  I highly recommend seeing if there’s a Sidewalk Astronomer group in your neighborhood.

Images: Steve Hill, Bruce Fingerhood, tonynetone

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A couple of weeks ago, my son, The Littlest E, had an amazing homework assignment.  Yes, homework in preschool.  You might thinking, you’re kidding, right?  He’s only 3-½.  But, wait.  It was a cool homework assignment, esteem building, he learned about caring and nurturing, and it was just plain fun.

Each child in The Littlest E’s Grasshopper class gets to be “Friend of the Week,” which entails making a poster of family, friends and things you like, bringing it to class and sharing about it.  The students are also assigned a letter and bring in objects and things beginning with that letter.  Finally, for that same week, each child takes care of Gary the Grasshopper, a grasshopper stuffed animal that chirps.  During the week, the child makes journal entries of the activities he/she does with Gary and he/she is responsible for Gary’s wellbeing.

Gary Likes Chips

The Littlest E had a blast on so many levels.  My husband, Tom, and I did, too.  During the week, Gary sat with my son in his car seat when going to school.  He slept with him at night and cuddled with him and all his other animals.  He went grocery shopping, joined us out to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, helped make breakfast and coffee, took a bath, or at least joined my son in the bathtub away from the water of course (didn’t want to damage the chirp should he get wet), and came out on a playdate.  He also took part in The Littlest E’s swimming lesson.

Swimming Lesson

My son loved caring for Gary.  Within a couple of hours of having him home with us, he told him, “I love you, Gary.”  He wanted to bring him everywhere, even back to school.  It was wonderful seeing him so responsible.  Of course there were times he’d forget he had Gary and needed a reminder or two.  There were also times my energetic son threw Gary, but he heard me say on one occasion, “That wasn’t nice.  We don’t treat our friends that way.  That hurt him.”  “Sorry, Gary,” was the response followed by a big hug.

We bought a poster board at the nearest Michaels and The Littlest E picked out stickers he wanted on the poster (butterflies, animals and super heroes), as well as blue letter stickers for spelling his name.  It was important to give our son as much ownership of the assignment as possible so he could learn from it, and not do it for him.  It was a delicate balance of when to step in and when to let go.

Making Breakfast

We showed him various photos of family, friends from class and outside preschool, and of some of the activities he did.  He picked the pictures he wanted on the poster.  I have to admit, there were a couple of photos I wanted up there, like the one of us as a family right after The Littlest E became a U.S. citizen and the one from the Ethiopia heritage camp we attended last year.  He didn’t want to use them so they stayed off.  We helped him organize where the photos went on the poster and he placed the stickers.  It was fun family bonding time and it was great for him to make decisions and create something on his own.

He brought the poster to school on a Monday and during circle time told the class all about the photos and who was in them.  One of his teachers told me later that he loved sharing about it with his class.  He even took one of the other mommies on a tour of the poster.  He had such pride in sharing.  When I picked him up that afternoon, he wore the biggest smile.

Playing Guitar

That night, we put together his “letter” bag.  His letter was “R.”  We went through a whole bunch of things and I asked him if they began with the letter “R.”  This was another good exercise for him, learning how letters sound.  We settled on bringing in a picture of a rhino, a rubber band, a rubber ball and a receipt.  We’d bring in more things later in the week.  All the while, The Littlest E was taking care of Gary.

Wednesday night was his last night with the cuddly, chirpy, green grasshopper and we put together his journal entry.  Throughout the week Tom and I took a number of photos of Gary’s stay with us.  The Littlest E picked out his six favorite ones.  He loved looking at all the photos.  We also spent time singing because one day while you are Friend of the Week, your parents come to school and do something with all the kids.  Our musical son wanted Tom and I to sing songs.  There are a number of songs he knows and he finally selected “I am a Pizza,” “Willie Was a Whale,” and “I Know an Old Lady.”

Elliott Family Singers

For class Thursday, The Littlest E wanted his classmates to wear their pajamas to school since it was his special day.  He glowed when he played his ukulele while Tom played his guitar.  The children clapped while we sang and joined in when they knew the words.  It was awesome to watch their faces.  After the songs, our son shared about his journal entry and the things he did with Gary, and finished talking about his “R” objects.  He enjoyed himself thoroughly.  It truly was a special day for him.

Journal

This was the first of many major homework assignments to come.  Though, I think it’s going to rank right up there as being one of the most fun.  I’m very grateful that Sunnyside Preschool does Friend of the Week.  Each child gets the focus and has a special week devoted them and the students learn more about each other.  It’s an esteem builder.  There was so much to glean from Gary and this assignment.  The Littlest E loved having us read his friends’ journal entries to him because he got to learn more about them and see photos of them outside of school.  He misses Gary, but can look at the photos and his poster to remember his week with Gary the Grasshopper.

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The Littlest E’s preschool was on break for about two weeks, which is why I haven’t been writing my blog.  Now that he’s back in school, I thought I’d start the blog up again with a cautionary tale for all parents.

While my son was on break, one morning we went to meet some friends from Burbank Adult School at Rockin’ Kids, an indoor play space.  The moms from school usually meet there once a week and I knew on this day, they’d be there.  I was looking forward to seeing friends I hadn’t seen in a while and to having The Littlest E play with his buddies in an indoor, secure space out of the San Fernando Valley heat wave.

Rockin’ Kids has a lot of open space for the kids to run around, plus there’s a bouncy house with a slide, a pool of balls for kids to play in, and various cars and modes toddler transportation, along with the standard toys that indoor play spaces utilize.  In one area, was a wooden fort kids.  They could climb up the ladder, hang out in the fort and then slide down a tube slide.  The Littlest E was a master at climbing said ladder, but he was hesitant, nay scared of going down the slide.  I don’t think he likes tube slides all that much.

As I was looking at him up there in the fort, a light bulb went off in my head.  Why don’t I show him how to go down the slide so he can see there’s nothing to be afraid of?  Face your fear and walk through it.  Not that he’d really get that particular message; he’s only 3 after all, but I thought if he saw that I wasn’t afraid, maybe he’d follow suit and go down the slide.

I asked the woman who worked at Rockin’ Kids if it was okay for me to go down the slide.  She replied cautiously, “You can, but it’s built for kids.  Be careful.”  I think all I heard was the “you can” part.  My gut heard the entire thing, but I really wanted to show my son that it was okay to be scared and do it anyway.  Somewhere in the pit of my stomach, I knew I wasn’t being all that smart.  Do you see where this is going?  Wait, it gets better.

I had no trouble climbing up the ladder.  Easy, breezy.  The Littlest E and I exchanged a hug as we were both nestled in the fortress area.  Then I got ready for my descent down the slide.  Even as I was crouching in, I knew I shouldn’t be doing this.  It was too late to turn back.  Was it my pride, ego or stubbornness that kept me going?  I’m not sure, possibly a bit of all 3.  Want to guess what happened?

I got stuck, of course.  Somewhere up at the top of the slide, it’s a bit foggy now, as I’ve tried to block it from my memory.  My arms got stuck and I was holding on by my elbows?  All I know is I let go, there were some bumps and my elbows were killing me upon exiting the slide at the bottom.  I made sure whatever pain I felt, I kept to myself so as not to scare my son.  A dad looked at me as I stumbled out and said, “That sounded like it hurt.”  I replied quietly, “It did.”

Yep, Mommy was not too smart on that one.  Fortunately, my son didn’t know that I injured myself.  To top it off, he didn’t go down the slide anyway.  All was for naught.  Oh well, lesson learned – my lesson that is, not his.  If my gut screams to me “NOOOOOO DON”T DO IT!!!!”  I need to listen to that voice.

Fortunately, there was a mom with our group who happened to have a bag of ice.  She was my savior that morning.  I put the ice bag between my then bruised and burned elbows to halt the bruising from enveloping any more of my arms.  It was so very soothing, soothed my elbows and my pride.  Several of the moms laughed at me and I joined in.  What else was there to do but laugh at myself?  It’s been over a week and my elbows are still a slight yellowish/green and there’s one lingering scab, a constant reminder of my bright idea.  I still chuckle at myself for doing what I did.

So, Moms and Dads out there, if you’re thinking of doing something similar and that little voice inside you is screaming, “WHAT ARE YOU, NUTS??” please heed my cautionary tale, save your body and don’t do it.  Wishing you safe playing!

Images: caveatemptor27, Melanie Elliott

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