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I'm the only one?

It was one of those warm, sunny winter days we've been getting lately yesterday. When we arrived at the playground there were a few kids here and there--though we've been to that particular equipment in the summer and found it empty. But when school was out for the day, they flocked to the playground like birds migrating.

I knew Cole was having fun when he, at one point, paused in the middle of what he was doing and just screamed as loud as he could for no apparent reason. He spent most of his time wandering back and forth between a steering wheel, down a ramp, then over to a combination platform...bells of varying tones and a spaceship you could navigate through a plastic maze. But I eventually learned the reason for the lack of further exploration--aside from staring at all the kids--he was biding his time waiting for a cool plastic recliner-swing which he ran to at first availability.

The entire time we were there, parents would yell over to the sand pit every so often: "NO SAND!" I heard this at least 3 times. And I understand.

Or maybe part of it is my son's historical fear/annoyance with dirt. I see no reason to discourage him. As I told my mom today, however, he appears to have the best of both worlds in the end. Just enough interest to have fun but enough dislike for sandy shoes and dirty hands to keep him from complete bath-ready.

He was hesitant like usual at first yesterday. But then I handed him a stick.Then all bets were off. And a sweet older boy offered to share and play with him. It was a cute moment. And so not me. You never would have caught childhood Newfangled Dad getting his hands messy.

In the end, I've never heard Cole cry so loudly about having to stop doing something or leave somewhere. In a way, his unhappiness made me happy. I promised we'd come back and we will. That's all useless to a toddler though. He was so in the moment and at peace with a pile of dirt and a stick.

He does terribly clever things that amuse me for their level of profoundness, intelligence, and other adult/mature traits. I'm finding one of my favorite things with my kids is just watching them be kids though. He's got 80 years ahead to watch tv and surf the internet with a mouse or press keyboard keys.

How long does a human being really have to play in the sand pit though? With a stick? Totally appropriate.