She Says… Get Thee to a Climbing Gym

Remember a few weeks ago when Owen got to the top of the climbing wall at the playground and I wasn’t exactly, uhh, prepared? Well, since then he seemed to have been mastering other dangerous playground equipment (a full-sized ladder, cargo nets, the tire swing going “superfast, Mommy!”, etc.). But don’t let that fool you (ahem, me). His interest in rock climbing is still going strong. And he’s good. Damn good.

(iPhone video)

The kid is a natural. I imagine most toddlers would be — they are so bendy and their bodies are so small that they can pull themselves up on almost anything. But what Owen brings to the table in addition to bendiness is a complete lack of fear. He just… goes for it. Even if it means he falls off headfirst. Backwards. This is why he’s already a far better climber than I will ever be.

Over the weekend we discovered he’s already thinking like a climber too. We started coaching him: “Try reaching the red hold with this hand, and putting your foot up on the green one. Yes! Now stand up with this leg…” and he totally gets it. He even asked us “Red one?” a few times, checking if that was the right course while he was climbing.

Get this kid on a real rock. I think he’s ready.

As with so much of his daredevil, active personality, he comes by it honestly. And not from my side. When Benjamin’s parents hear about Owen’s running-head-first-into-walls antics, they just laugh. They’ve seen that little boy before. His name was Benjamin.

Benjamin was also a natural on the rock walls. He grew up scaling ledges and repelling down mountains that make me queasy just looking at them now.

Though I didn’t know Benjamin when he was 2 years old (and probably practicing climbing his windowsills and furniture, just like Owen does now), I can imagine the devilish, determined and adventure-seeking look in his eye as he did it. I see it in Owen’s baby blues every time I catch him about to jump off of something way too tall for a 2 year old to jump off.

Thankfully, since then, Benjamin has learned that some things really should be feared. I’m afraid we have many years of scraped knees and possibly a broken bone or two before Owen learns the same.

And until then, I’d better get used to holding my breath and letting him climb. And fall. And encouraging him to climb again.

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4 responses to “She Says… Get Thee to a Climbing Gym

  1. Like father, like son! Grampy will get out the climbing harnesses for your visit to NH! Love the video; Owen is so confident. Be prepared for many gray hairs, Kate.

  2. Ahhhh, way to go MOM for not fainting and helping support his little mountain climbing ambitions! It’s so tough to nurture something that’s scary to watch, but I can definitely see why it’s a good thing to do!

  3. Seconding the ‘way to go MOM’ here!

    Starting when she was around 2, taking Miss A to the park means steeling myself for overhearing other parents worrying about her. It began with “oh, she can do that?” in a mildly concerned voice if they thought I could hear them and “that girl’s going to get hurt” if they thought I couldn’t. And now she’s three and craving more independence, it’s progressed to “where’s that little girl’s mom? She’s too little for that slide” or ladder, or rope net, or pole, or whatever. Bah! I know what she can do and when she needs a spotter. Turns out I’ve known her all her life!

    And, like you, I’m prepared for the scrapes and bruises and such. I accept that as the price for giving my girl the joy of physical exploration and exertion that she so clearly seeks out.

  4. Oh my goodness. I can’t believe how effortlessly he scaled that wall. You are going to have to find a place for him to climb. My brother lives in Spokane and they have and indoor climbing facility with ropes and harnesses and everything. The walls are huge and have varying levels of difficulty–he would love it! I’m cracking up at Grammy’s comment about the gray hairs :)

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