fire pole, originally uploaded by MzMuze.

Last fall, Rio would climb up to the top of the climbing structure and then call me to help her down the fire pole. I’d put my arms up and gently lift her down, supporting her slow glide as she held on loosely to the pole.

Yesterday, she just flew down it like it was nothing.

“Look Mama! Look!”

“I see, you can do the fire pole on your own now. That’s pretty cool.”

Rio gives me her serious face and says, “Do you want to know how I do it?”

I do not in fact want to know how she does it. How she does it seems obvious – climb the structure, grab the pole, slide down. But I am pretty sure that somewhere in the Mom Contract there was a clause about always saying yes to this question.


“Well, I go to the top of the thing,” she does this, to demonstrate. Standing up there, she looks down at me so gravely, with her hand over her heart. “Then, I say to my brain, ‘We are going to do this scary thing now.’ Then, my brain says, ‘OK’. Then, I take a deep breath. Then… WHEEEE!”

With that last bit, she goes flying down the pole, hitting the ground at a run.

“That’s great, Rio! I love …”

“No time to talk, Mom,” she shouts over her shoulder. “I’m doing my work.”

Her work turns out to be running, climbing and sliding at top speed for the next twenty minutes. I am glad I listened while she had time to talk.