As the children get older and, as my friend said, "the world opens up to them," the world opens up to us a family as well. There are more and more things that we get to do with them. Last Friday, my mom took Fern on her personal baby adventure while John and I took Burl on his big toddler adventure.
Burl has been begging to "climb with a rope all the way to the top" ever since we took him in November. Sometimes we will take him in there and let him play around, but we haven't done the full thing. Joseph, of course, came along with us, because two of his passions collided: Burl and climbing. We let Burl decide how it would go: John held the rope (ie, belayed), Joseph climbed with him, and I was not involved (ie, I took pictures and videos).
John and I have belayed hundreds of kids (experienced and newbies) and have noticed one common thing: when the parents are involved, it doesn't go as well. There is exactly one time that a mom had better luck than I did with helping her kid get up the wall. It's not really anything special that happens during the climbing, but more what happens before the parent and child even step in the gym. I knew that I had to be pretty careful when encouraging Burl to climb all the way to the top. He wanted to so badly, and we all wanted it for him as well.
The only patterns that I know that help are to let the kid down if they genuinely look scared and give them smaller goals. ("Next time, climb one move further to that hold above where you are.") And when all else fails, just let them relax and have fun. Once we did that, we had fun. If you're really crazy, climb up a couple moves behind the kid (actually don't ever do this) and have the uncle take the lead (definitely do this).
Joseph told him there was treasure at the top and that sealed the deal for Burl. Up he went.
Once Burl got to the top, he got to play a little bit. Joseph and Burl acted like they owned the placed and stacked some mats on top of each other for a grand ole time.
As we were leaving a preteen monster climbing girl came in. I let Burl watch her climb and he was entranced. To be honest, I was too, because that girl is so strong!
Next up, we took Burl to a minor league baseball game, which happened to be Star Wars night as well. The game was postponed an hour due to rain, so we crammed into the glorified open-aired basement by the concessions and entertained ourselves with food and people watching.
The game finally started and we got to move to the stadium so we could enjoy food and people watching. I think there was a game going on as well.
Burl ate two hot dogs, nachos, and ice cream. He wanted more. We had to cut him off because everything was so expensive (and I think he had enough). It was fun, but I think he should be a little older to go again.
To get to do some more fun activities and to hang out with John and my brother was a good time. Burl was excited, happy, and very sleepy by the end of the night. We all left very happy.