Friday, 27 May 2011

Zonas Infantiles - by Theo

One of the many reasons why Madrid is such a great place to have kids is the sheer number of Zonas Infantiles there are in the city. They crop up everywhere, often (especially in the older parts of the city) in the most unexpected places, squeezed in random spaces, while out in the suburbs they have clearly been built into the town plan. Some are extremely inventive, making great use of local features (swings hanging from the underside of bridges, rope bridges between trees), while others are your more standard "swing and slide" types, though often with modern adaptations - a gently sloping climbing wall rather than a ladder, for example.

We quite like taking Rosie 10 minutes down the road on her tricycle to the Zona in the nearby Parque de Calero, where there are often other children for her to point at. Her level of interaction currently doesn't go much further than that.

However, the past few mornings I've been taking Rosie round the corner to the small Zona near our block. It's very basic - a swing, a slide and two wobbly things - and there's not usually anyone else there at 8.30am, but it's a good time to go, while it's still cool and before the sun hits the metal slide and turns it into a burn hazard. One of Rosie's favourite tricks is to walk up the slide, with assistance, and then come back down. Repeat ad nauseum. The slide was off limits this morning though as the overnight rain had left a big puddle in the lip at the bottom - when is somebody going to design a slide where this doesn't happen?

Anyway, Rosie was quite content sitting in the wobbly car for a while, before asking to get off and putting all the little bits I'd brought on it. Then she did a bit of playing in the dirt - another of her favourite things, stirring it with her hands before grabbing handfuls and watching how it runs through her fingers.

She's getting more confident walking outside now and at one point walked up to the swing and asked to be lifted up. She's never been keen before but I guess when it's on her terms she's happier. Although nothing pleases her more than pointing and cooing at little dogs, many of which passed by.

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