This week… We say good bye to Larry the Inflatable.
He’s been such a good friend. So many of you have jumped on him, somersaulted over him, ran up and down, bounced and played on him.
But this last weekend he blew a fuse!
He was tired and worn out.
Too much bouncing!
It would be easy to replace him but we are not choosing to replace Larry the Inflatable.
A girlfriend and I had kids not too far apart and as a consequence our kids spent an awful lot of their early child hood playing together.
I was so envious of my friend. Her kids seemed to know how to play with toys. Her kids would put their toys away after every play and before they started something new. Mine played more feral. The goal seemed to be “Let’s pull out as many toys as we can.” Pack up happened at the end of the day but asking them to pack up after each little play session was like, “You kidding me mom!”
I felt rather intimidated by my friend. Her yard was perfect. The garden immaculate and pruned, everything in its place. I loved her garden. I envied her garden.
Mine always looked like a demolition yard. There were blankets hung from trees and bits of wood banged together here and there… branches cut without permission and made into forts. I still want to know who gave those kids that saw!
Her kids favourite trip to town was to the toy store. They always came back with beautiful toys…which I must add they cared for so well. I mean they even unwrapped the toys well. No torn paper or toy packaging everywhere!
My kids favourite trip was to the demolition yard to see what bits and pieces they could pick up to make the next cubby from. If it wasn’t the demolition yard it was the hardware store for more nails and hammers.
Sometimes I wondered where did these child loves come from? My husband, bless him is practically useless, so I never quite understood why my kids had to turn my back yard into a creative bombshell!
I wished my kids could have been more like my friends kids.
I prayed every night to be a better mum.
I promised I would do better the next day.
But my kids remained who they were turning vacuum cleaners into tractors, banging sticks together to make soccer goals and crunching any plant that got in the way of their latest fort.
Despite the differences our kids remained friends wanting to play with each other.
Her kids loved coming over and creating, building and generally making a mess.
My kids loved going over to her house to play with all the toys we didn’t have! To be honest I think they enjoyed the structure and the quieter play.
In the end I stopped praying my prayers and wanting to be different.
I came to see both experiences helped our kids grow emotionally, relationally, physically and creatively.
So what on earth has any of this got to do with Larry the inflatable?
In trying to figure out what we think kids need we think there are lots of other homes in Launceston where kids can go for a jump.
But there aren’t as many spaces where kids can experience interactive rooms, let their imagination run riot, run around big plagrounds or take part in guided play activity.
We feel we need to spend more time playing with kids; building cubbies and dressing up in outrageous costumes pretending to be part of whatever play the kids seem to be making up.
It’s like mine and my friends home. Neither was better it was just different and together the kids grew up healthy and rounded.
We say goodbye to Larry the Inflatable and thank him for years and years of fun.
We look forward to lots of fun creating, imagining and exploring the whimsical life of kids.