Kai has been climbing since her earliest of days -- scaling walls and windows before she could walk. And, she continues to love climbing. There is a park near our house with a rock climbing wall and Kai asks to go there nearly every day. She likes to start with the monkey bars, which she does with her legs wrapped around one of us for support. She likes to hang from the last bar and drop to the ground - trying to swing herself further out with each leap.
Then it is onto the rock wall. She is an incredible climber - matching hands and feet, criss-crossing her limbs to reach new heights, and all sorts of other fancy moves that I don't know proper term for. The funny thing is, she'll be climbing up the wall and suddenly get a little stuck and yell, "I CAN'T" as she whines and sounds generally distressed. The first time she did this, Eric went over and grabbed her to help her down, to which she yelled, "NO. I can do it all. by. myself." and she grunted and pulled herself out of the difficult spot. And then, again, "Oh No!! I CAN'T." Once again, we try to help, once again she tells us to get away, but proceeds to yell in a distressed voice, "I CAN'T. HELP!" And then refuses the help. Now we just tell her she can do it and that we'll be there if she falls -- and she pulls through the tough spots, hollering most of the time. I think the other parents think we're torturing her -- but it's all self-imposed. She wants to climb the wall. By herself. But, parts of it freak her out. And she gets fatigued. And as soon as she pops off, she scurries to start again, determined to go higher with each attempt.
This evening, Eric climbed to the top of the wall and was sitting on top. You could see the light bulb go off over Kai as she hopped onto the wall, determined to sit on the top, just like her dad. There was a LOT of hollering and whining, "I CAN'T... HELP!!" involved on the way up... but, she got there and was so incredibly pissed at us when we wouldn't let her straddle the top (because of the whole danger of falling thing). Eric held onto her foot and pulled her back down, thwarting her victory move. She screamed, "I WANT TO SIT ON THE TOP." We told her she was only three, and that she was too little to sit up top by herself. "When you are 5, you can sit on top," Eric said.
Later, she was on the swings and pumping her legs and arms so that she was, literally, flying. She was going really high and Eric said, "no jumping off" (because she had seen an older girl jumping off the swing the last time we were at the park and had been trying to duplicate the move ever since, and we could tell she had it in mind to let go again.) "Why?" Kai asked -- and you could tell she was irritated that Eric had read her mind. "Why do you think?" Eric asked. "Because, I am not five. And when I am five, I can go really high. And sit on top of the wall. And jump off the swings. When I am five."
Five is going to be a fun year. I can tell.