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Climbing

The kids climbed this week!  Not metaphorically, although, I’m sure they did that too, but actually physically.  They all climbed things they’d never been able to climb before.  It started, I suppose, with the giant El Cid statue outside the Legion of Honor here in San Francisco, where the kids met their friends to go see the Monet exhibit one last time before it closed.  The statue is a huge brass affair mounted on top of a ten foot high concrete pedestal.  One of the kids started to climb up it.  Soon the other five kids followed suit.  There were beveled curves cast into the concrete that looked to have been created expressly for the purpose of defeating climbing.  The kids, however, quickly came up with a way of wedging their boots onto the concrete while grasping the bevel above and pulling.  They were making it up the side, but it was a bit too tall.

Perhaps it was later that night—it might have been a few nights before—we found our two-year-old, No. 3 on top of the second bunk.  Her brother No. 2, our four-year-old had helped her up the first time, but this time, she’d does it herself.  She’d called out to Mom/Dad, and I’d found her—happy as a clam—atop the bunks.  No. 2 had a trick he used to get up there when he was smaller—wedging himself between the bed and the bunk to climb to the top  I pushed the bunks all the way into the wall just out of laziness.  As it turns out, that is not No. 3’s trick.  We haven’t seen her go up yet, all we know is she’s fast!

Over the weekend, the climbing incidents well, climbed, so to speak.  We went to the skate park on Saturday.  Everyone is balancing, better, everyone is coasting longer.  We’ve got three skater kids!  But I was talking about climbing right?  After we lost interest at the skate park we ventured a few stops up the adjacent bus line for breakfast, and then walked back down to a tiny playground whose only piece of equipment is a giant, fourteen-foot-high rope and steel climbing structure in the shape of a sphere.  No. 1, our 6-year-old, was able to reach the top almost immediately the first time we visited when the playground opened a few months ago.  This weekend, we looked away for a moment, and when we looked back, No. 2 was up there as well!  No.3 made it one rope rung up, and watched hers sibs from there.

The next day, on the way back from a birthday party we found ourselves waiting for our bus home outside of a MUNI train station.  No. 1 asked if she could climb a large art deco planter that concealed the bus stop from the nearby road.  We said “sure,” in that easy offhanded way that parents do when they don’t think they need to think through all the consequences.  A few moments later, No. 1 was most of the way up.  I took another look at the structure, and it was the El Cid bevel from earlier in the week only shorter.  Then, No. 1 pulled hard, and just like a rock climber rose to a perch right next to the elevated concrete plant pot.  She made a controlled climb back down, stopping midway to let her younger sister get out of the way of her descent.  A few minutes after that, No. 2 who had been watching intently made it up to the top as well.  About five minutes after the initial ask, we had two soot covered kids, (they maybe never clean the outside of our train stations), who were grinning from ear to ear at what they’d done.

We all ambled onto the bus.  The five of us sat in a little cluster in the back corner reading our comic books to each other.  We spend lots of our quality family time on public transit.  None of us need to pay attention to the road… but that’s a story for another day.


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