Today my aunt took us (me, Jessica, and Namine) to a little water park. She called it The Splash Pad; I assume that was its name. It was a flat, concrete area filled with fountains and all sorts of contraptions that sprayed water. Namine was very excited.
When we got there, I gave Namine the choice of staying in her wheelchair or scooting around. Scooting on pavement is nothing new to her — not to mention that she prefers to move around on her own — so I helped her get down onto the ground.
The disadvantages of being colorblind
I kept my distance, at Namine’s behest. I wanted her to have fun, unhampered by a hovering dad. (I try not to be a helicopter parent.) Namine was so happy scooting through the water, splashing and playing, that she didn’t even notice that her ankle was bleeding. I don’t know if it was because her pain tolerance is high or if it was because she was just having so much fun, but she had no idea.
I didn’t notice right away either; the pavement, to me, was the same color as the blood-tinged water. (It probably wasn’t to anyone else.) If Namine had shown some sign of being in pain, I would have noticed sooner. As it was, another child’s mom came up to me and told me that Namine’s ankle was bleeding. I went over to her, and sure enough, it was. So I picked Namine up and sat her on a bench.
Neither Jessica nor my aunt had any bandages, so we thought that we’d have to cut short our afternoon at the park. But to our surprise, several parents came up to us, offering Band-Aids. I dried off Namine’s foot and bandaged it, then told her she’d have to stay in her wheelchair for the rest of her time at the park. She was fine with that; she was just happy to be able to stay.
Inclusion, as taught by children
What was it that I wrote the other day, about Namine’s being shy around people she doesn’t know? Apparently she didn’t get the memo today. She was not shy at all about going up to other kids and saying hi, running around with them across the park, and generally having a great time.
More than a few times, Namine ran into the metal pole due to having closed her eyes or ducked her head because of the water. I count us as fortunate that she never ran into a kid, nor ran over someone’s foot. (I can’t totally credit Namine with that, either; I did observe some kids darting out of the way of my lunatic daughter as she careened across the park, squealing with laughter.)
As much as Namine deliberately wheeled on through the waterfalls, I got just as wet. (Good thing I had my swimsuit on, too.) I seemed to draw the fire from water-guns manned (childrenned?) by kids eager to target a parent. Or maybe it was just that I was an adult who didn’t mind getting wet. Either way, Namine came to my rescue; she started to scold the kids spraying me until I explained to her that it was okay, I didn’t mind. Well, after that, she joined in spraying me.
I was impressed at how the other kids included Namine. We’ve seen plenty of situations where some kids will include her, some will ignore her, and some will be mean — either by pushing her out of the way, or by simply saying insensitive things. But not so today. Namine made a dozen friends today (even if she never sees any of them again), and had a great time playing in the water.