Friday, September 19, 2008


I keep telling myself to stop writing about how wonderful Thumper is, but I just can't help it. I am so proud of him, I'm surely going to hell.

Today we went to Jungle Java. It's sort of Radijazz-ish, but smaller and cleaner, and only $3 for Thumper, instead of $8. They also sell food. More importantly, they sell coffee. To be fair, Radijazz has free coffee, but it comes in annoying, tiny, top-heavy styrofoam cups that get on my nerves. I suppose Radijazz is cooler, funkier, more in keeping with that "Keep Austin Weird" spirit, and I should eschew the spirit of sanitized suburbia that Jungle Java exudes, but frankly, for less than half the cost, I don't have a problem with sanitized suburbia. I like that the place is clean and well-lit, and that I could drop-kick Thumper into the play areas and he'd be hard-pressed to hurt himself. Not that Radijazz is dangerous, particularly for kids at least a little older than Thumper, but without direct supervision, there are a lot of ways Thumper could get into bad situations there. The cleanliness at Jungle Java probably comes from the fact that it's apparently new, though, with a "Now Open!" sign still hanging in the front window. We'll see how clean it is in a year or two.

Uh, I think I digressed. What was I talking about? Oh, bursting. Right. Thumper doesn't usually stray too far from me. It's probably because I don't stray too far from him, but he doesn't play very long without checking in. But because the set-up at Jungle Java is such that parents are architecturally if not explicitly discouraged from entering the play areas, I wound him up, set him down, and let him run while I sat at a table with my coffee. He started in the toddler area, revelling in the toys that he's never played with before and following the older kids as they ran around the joint. He climbed back and forth over the one-foot foam barrier at the entrance to the toddler area, and when the older kids ran over to the larger two-story play area that's recommended for kids "4 and up," he tagged right along with barely a glance in my direction.

One of the access points to the play area's second floor is an incline with foam half-cylinders spaced along it that act sort of as stair risers and sort of as ladder rungs. Without so much as looking for me or asking for a boost ("boosh," he says) he climbed all the way to the top. He ran around up there, squatted down and peered at me at the bottom of the slide, decided he wasn't quite ready for that, and climbed all the way back down again, without tumbling, slipping, or asking for help. He didn't even get flustered when a swarm of older kids climbing up engulfed him as he was climbing down.

He pretty much ran around the place like he'd been going there for years. He went back and forth from the toddler to the big kids' area. He didn't get upset when the aggressive two-year-old girl pushed him down or yanked a toy right out of his hands. I drew the line when she smacked him in the face, but he didn't hold it against her. He was gentle and kind with the younger girl who wasn't so steady on her feet and even handed her the toy he was holding. And when I said it was time to go, he waved and yelled "Bye bye!" to everybody, then sang his own sweet version of "Patty Cake" in the car, complete with clapping.

There are some days that I just can't believe how lucky I am.


Jennie said...


Living In a Girl's World said...

Glad you had a great experience. You've got to let them fly sometimes. Glad Thumper enjoyed flying solo.

anne said...

Isn't it amazing to see your child do things you did not know they could, and with no hesitation? Our kids were perfectly fine on the big slide at the park near our house before I even knew they could negotiate stairs on their own!

What a great day, and what a great post!

Keep up the good work with parenting and with WW - I am very proud of you, especially on the weeks when things are not moving the way you want.

I, Rodius said...

Thanks, anne, that's very sweet of you. And thanks jennie and liagw. We went back on Sunday to show the joint to Aerie, and it was a little more overwhelming for the boy with a full weekend birthday party contingent of kids and parents. But he still had fun.

suttonhoo said...

is it okay if I burst a little too?

so well told.

dude, you're living the life.

love it.

I, Rodius said...

Burst away! There's plenty of burstability to go around. But dude, I'M not living the life; YOU'RE living the life. Though after all, I don't think either of us would trade for the other's.

Nicole said...

I'm glad you guys had a fun time at Jungle Java.
Nicole Henson-owner

anniemcq said...

I love this. It's so nice to know that there are other parents who get so much joy from their kids accomplishments. Thanks so much for this, Rodius. I love reading about Thumper. And I can feel your glow of pride from here.

I, Rodius said...

Yep, I'm pretty proud. Even if he can't kick or throw (yet), he's amazingly verbal for his age, and secure enough to do a little explorin' and a little flirtin' with strangers.

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