I am my daughter’s playmate.
When Jeff’s not around, that is. He’s more into the active stuff with her — play centres, parks, trampolines. I’m usually on the side reading my book or drinking cappuccino when I’m not chatting with the other mums. He’s the “I’m coming to get you!” kind of dad. I’m the “come cuddle with me as I read you a book” kind of mum. That’s where our individual parenting strengths are split equally between the two of us.
But on this particular birthday invite, Jeff was out shooting a friend’s wedding so I obviously had to drive Raven there myself. Which wasn’t much of a big deal as they were family friends anyway so I was only half anxious at meeting the other half of the guests whom I didn’t know.
Still, as Raven didn’t really hit it up with any of the other kids there, I was left to be her playmate, squeezing myself into those narrow spaces between foam-covered stairs to chase her across a tunnel of rope obstacle course so we could go down the slides together.
She knows I kind of have this fear of slides. She’s the one who usually encourages me to give it a go, promising that it’s not scary. That it’s easy and it’s fun.
Some days I stay a wimp. On this day, I went down the slide with her. Several times, in fact, as it was actually rather fun. Also, because it was one of those baby ones suitable for ages 2 to 99 years old.
And because I wanted to concentrate all my focus on the act of sliding, Raven offered to hold my phone and film us as she slid down first. Seriously, this kid has more balls than me.
When she wasn’t playing, she was asking me to take videos of her doing gymnastics stuff. She LOVES gymnastics. She watches videos of gymnasts on Youtube and then copies the ones she feels she can do. Lately she has been begging for bars at home. The proper ones dedicated for gymnastics training that comes with thick mats.
I’m happy to buy them but between her and Jeff’s need for bigger space, we might have to convert our current bedroom into a gymnastics room while we sleep outside in a tent. Our previous bedroom has already been converted into Jeff’s workshop so who knows what’s gonna happen next?
*Raven at 6 years old