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Urban Playground

Jack in a puddle.

One of my biggest struggles as a mother is to let go of my agenda and listen to Jack’s. I set out to the park on an unseasonably warm day in Chicago. I mean how many days do we get to enjoy such a treat? On our way out the door Jack saw a puddle and squirmed to explore it. I tugged on his coat and coaxed him to the park. He resisted. I resisted back.

Jack in a puddle

I stopped myself and asked, “what’s the big deal? Why can’t he play here? Why does he have to play in any designated area just because it is what I thought of first?” I put him down and he jumped into the puddle. He was elated in a way not often seen. I lost 10 minutes on an extra load of laundry, but gained a happy and healthy exploring toddler whose self-esteem and brain developed leaps and bounds in a way it would not have if I had demanded his compliance of my arbitrary structure of the day. I also gained a snuggley warm bath with my baby boy who is growing faster than the speed of light. Splash on, Jack. Splash on!

Abby Theuring, MSW


  1. I luv it!! I got a lot of crap for letting my now 2yr old son who was about 15 mo at the time i was going for a walk when he started walking towards a huge fairly deep puddle and like u i pulled him back. Then stopped and thought why not? He stripped dwn to his diaper and had a hell of a good time i got stares comments and i smiled and enjoyed the moment !!!

  2. Such a cute read! This is how I want to homeschool. Discovery, creativity and passion! 🙂

  3. A valuable reminder to a fellow structure slave

  4. I just want to reinforce how important this blog is to so many women, and really, parents in general. My husband and I practice AP and I lead a local AP support group. Even with my passion for AP and breastfeeding, it can be difficult in our society to parent this way. Especially in central Kentucky :-/ I cry every single time I read a blog entry because they support my decisions. I wish I had the right words to express how much your blog means to me. Thanks again 🙂

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