The jungle theme of our neighborhood indoor playground is wildly appropriate (pun so very very intended). Usually when I chaperone Jordan to this metropolis of chaos and smelly socks there are few kiddos with which to share it. We're part of the early bird crowd you see.
Yet 3:30 on New Year's Eve afternoon presented itself as an appealing time slot because hey, Jordan had awoken from her beauty sleep; I had the day off of work; I'm an idiot. Post Christmas sales? Mall crawlers armed with newly acquired gift cards? Lots of people have New Year's Eve off? Why no, these hadn't occurred to me.
You may have surmised by now that we encountered a jungle gym (totally just put the "jungle" theme connection together. Clever.) teeming with toddlers of all shapes, sizes and genders.
First off, may I say that there is no firmer believer than I in the power of nurture over nature, but it is hilarious how Nature can present itself in the very young. Say what you will, anthropologists and social experimenters and observers of the human animal, but little girls are generally hovering and protective, and little boys are generally aggressive and dominant. Generally. It is survival of the fittest on the playground.
Jordan is familiar with this park and, for as many times as we've been there, you'd think she would want to explore other options than the slide. Nothing can keep her from it.
Sometimes there is a little congestion in the slide traffic - which is the type of inefficiency that Jordan does not tolerate in the least - so she has learned to methodically maneuver her way around the inexperienced offenders who block her monomania because of their mystification with the concept of stairs. This is where, on this fateful trip, we encountered the slide terrorist AKA Nature: 1, Nurture: 0 AKA ma'am, do you know that your son is making attempts on my child's life.
As Jordan sped around the corner from slide to stairs for the umpteenth time and expertly managed the kiddie pileup, she encountered the source of today's traffic: Slide Ruler. There was a young man of about three perched on the top step, mother nowhere to be found, scaring fellow slidegoers from any attempts at downward-gravitational amusement. Jordan of Seventeen Months has an utterly trusting and predictably naive nature and wouldn't recognize malignant intent if he placed his foot squarely in the middle of her chest and got ready to plunge her to the depths of animal-cracker-matted carpets. Oh wait. That's what I had to break my "don't intervene with the kids' playtime" rule to go and prevent.
The aftermath of this little scene had slightly older girls (6 or 7 maybe) flying to a confused but not visibly upset Jordan's aid. The slide criminal was lifted off and chided by his older but still very young sister, and Jordan acquired an omnipresent playground protectress who followed her around incessantly.
that's her bodyguard on the right.
Sweet little Ms. Hover quickly picked up on the name I was calling my child and, after each slide revolution, would report: "that little boy tried to trip Jordan but I caught her before she fell"..."it was so cute, Jordan went and gave that baby a hug"..."that boy over there was mean to Jordan roared like a lion in her face, but I told him to stop" Jordan was mostly oblivious to her entourage of one and went about her sliding as quickly as possible.
So if park = socialization, I think Jordan's current impression of society is: tyranny from the top step + animal roars in the faces of similar sized humans + stalking
your prey another child = jungle gym harmony. Perfect. I love life lessons via mall park.