The King of the Monkey Bars

For the first year of Declan’s life, he stayed home with his Dad. For the second year, he was mostly home with his Dad, and we had a nanny help out two days a week. By age two, we realized it was time for some interaction with other children and enrolled him in a local daycare with a preschool program that also specialized in helping special needs kids. Their philosophy was all about play as a tool for learning and that mixing special needs kids with “normal” kids made those special needs kids more, well, normal. And the normal kids more special, in my opinion.

Declan learned how all kids are different, and have different needs. And how to help them. And how to embrace them.

See, Declan was born 8 weeks early, and while he never qualified for early intervention services, he was always on the cusp with his gross motor. Crawled a bit late, walked a little late, and was generally a clumsy baby. This was the other reason we loved his daycare. They had trained physical therapists on staff and they looked after Declan.

Declan stayed there until he started a more formalized preschool program at his local elementary school last Fall. When we were at a loss with what to do with Declan for the summer, we decided to go back to his old daycare one last time.

And getting there before 5pm aside, it’s been really good for him.

Sure, I wish the receptionists would actually smile and say hello when I walk in… you know, maybe “recept” me… and the teachers other than Declan’s own rarely even look up when I walk out on the playground…

But the transition back was a snap. And he had many friends still there, most importantly Sydney and Trudy. (For example, Trudy and Declan literally scream like banshees when they see each other every morning. Now, tell me! How often do you get that in life?)

But here’s the coolest thing ever…


Lest you not understand: My kid, the one born 8 weeks early, the one who couldn’t kick a ball till well over a year after all his friends could, the who STILL trips over his own feet almost every day… THAT KID can go back and forth on the monkey bars multiple times, can pull his feet up and hang, can leap out to the second rung and swing…

The whole shebang.

I don’t like labels for kids, but even this young I realize Declan is more likely to have his nose in a book than score a touchdown. Which is totally cool.

But still – for me – the monkey bars are definitely the highlight of his summerschool achievements.

This article has 14 comments

  1. Anonymous

    Aww, that is adorable! WTG Dex!

  2. Sizzle

    that’s so cool!

    and i would so like to find someone who would inspire such joy in me that i would want to scream like a banshee.

    i’m on the hunt!

  3. Tree

    Wonderful!!! I loved the monkey bars!!!

  4. zenrain

    yeah!! let’s go to the park tomorrow!

  5. Sue at nobaddays

    Hooray! Cheering with you!

    I had no idea until recently (when I read some of your older posts) that you had such a rough start with Declan. Makes him all the more precious.

  6. nutmeg

    Hoo Ha, Declan! My poor kids have nothing to blame their clumsiness on but their two geek parents!

  7. Christina

    That’s awesome! I didn’t master monkey bars until nearly middle school! (sucky upper arm strength)

  8. samantha jo campen

    What a great accomplishment! Yeah for the little man!

  9. diana

    that’s great. celebrate each and every thing that makes him who he is.

  10. Anonymous

    That kid has come a long way – I think he has managed to lose the preemie status a long time ago! He is brilliant.

  11. aimee / greeblemonkey

    thanks all.. He continues to amaze us every day!

  12. Alpha DogMa

    Good job, Declan.
    At 3 and 5 y.o. my kids still can’t kick a ball. Owing to the lunatic dog we own who attacks balls, imaginary squirrels and bananas with zeal. And saliva. And lots of teeth. Hence my kids are a bit soccer phobic.
    So why the early labour? PLEASE SHARE.

  13. Nadine

    Yay Declan! How cool is that! And I’m 29, not born early and I STILL CAN’T do the monkey bars!

  14. Dean Mama

    Now that’s inspiring—way to go Declan!

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