Exercising Their Right to Climb

(This post first appeared on my parenting blog Training Wheels for Central Penn Parent.

This afternoon I walked into the playroom and found one child standing on the table and the other standing on the toy shelf. There were various toy bins turned upside down, their contents strewn everywhere. I watched for a moment and realized they were using the bins as stairs. Or rocks. Or something other than their intended use. It was a delicate game of “Can’t Touch the Ground” and I was actually kind of impressed.

Still, the mother in me had to question the safety of this activity.

“Um, what are you doing?” I asked the 3-year-old.

“I’m exercising,” he said, taking a giant wobbly step from a table to a chair a few feet away.

Evan chimed in, “Cising!” with a big grin as he stomped on the toy box.

“You’re exercising?”

“Yes!” Kostyn said, glancing at me to discern my reaction. “We are just exercising, Mommy.” He could see the whole thing was close to crumbling, so as casually as he could he added, “Exercise is good for my brain.”

Kid’s got a point, I thought.

“What kind of exercising is this?” I asked.

“It’s stair climbing,” he said, leaping down from the chair and landing inside a toy bin. Evan climbed up onto the table and said, “Tall!”

Not to be outdone, Kostyn clambered back up onto the table and looked out over the plantation shutters, which even at Evan’s “tall” vantage point he still couldn’t muster. Evan moved toward conquering another toy bin instead.

Little brother's always just one step behind...but closing fast.
“I can see everything from way up here! I can see all the things!” Kostyn exclaimed, his voice muffled.

“I’m sure you can. You’re way up high,” I said. “The thing is, I don’t want you to fall...”

“I know,” he turned around and took a deliberately slow step down to an upside-down toy bin on the floor. “I’m standing on every breath,” he said, exhaling dramatically.

I’m sure that meant he was being very, very careful. So I let them play, supervised, for awhile longer. After all, I hate it when they interrupt my workout.

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