Ninety Minutes with Bea.

The first time Bea wore her new shoes we went up to the park to ride the scooter and trike. Sam likes to call this, his favourite park, the Round Park, as it has a good length pathway running all the way around it and it makes an excellent scooter race track.

First of all Bea tried to ride Sam’s trike, but it is really quite the impossible task for her. She is still too small for it really and it’s heavy and not easy to pedal even if she were a perfect fit and the trike hadn’t seen better days. With her nice new shoes on she forgot her normal cycling frustrations though and made up for the trike’s shortcomings by pushing herself around the track at speed digging the toes of her new shoes into the tarmac and then letting them drag beneath her.

In the centre of the park, next to the playground is a playing field. We often see organised sports being played or practiced here, but it has drainage issues. I was hoping Bea wouldn’t notice, but she is drawn to large muddy puddles like Grandad to fish and chips. There was no stopping her once she spotted the glorious squelchy goodness lurking amongst the crisp grass. Both new shoes went slopping into the muck accompanied by giggles.

To the back of the swing set where you can sit and sway while appreciating the glorious overlook view of Seattle, Puget Sound, and on a good day, Mount Rainier, is a steep embankment. Both kids like to try to escape up the hill and hide amongst the foliage. It’s not my favourite place for them to play as the bank is severe and a trip would end in a tumble down onto a brick wall, then concrete, and tears. For as wet and sloppy as the playing field can be, the hill’s incredibly dry and dusty. Messing around on the hillside can stir up clouds of dirt that cough down onto the playground. Bea’s new shoes enjoyed a good dust kicking up there, deaf to my cajoling before I managed to grab a limb, then two, and wrestle her back down to safer, cleaner grounds.

Sam placated her by offering a turn on his prized green scooter. A stunned Bea did not dither taking up that surprising treat. Helmet on, she took off before big brother could change his mind and I winced as I watched her favour her new shoes against the rough path over the rear brake.

Playtime over I gathered up the trike and scooter and toted them back to the car while Sam and Bea raced each other on foot around the park one last time. I didn’t notice when something distracted them and made them linger at the far edge. Another concerned mother came running up to tell me that my darling two year old had found the public bbq grill and was contentedly sweeping out all the dirty charcoal ashes from a busy Summer weekend of park picnics down onto herself and was rolling around in the muck. Sam was just watching. He was enjoying the spectacle, but keeping out of that one. Brilliant. She was a disaster. Bea had to be stripped down before I would go near her. I walked to the car with Bea wearing just her skivvies holding one hand, and the other clutching a pile of wretched clothes and a dripping, scraped up, dirt encrusted, pair of no longer quite so new shoes.

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