We made it to the aquarium for the members hour and it was nice and quiet. We practically had the place to ourselves. Lately R. never wants to get out of her stroller when we go places. She did eagerly get out and started running yelling ishy ishies. I chased her and insisted she had to hold my hand. After a couple of minutes her running changed from gleeful to nearly panicked. She looped around the aquarium at a break neck speed and managed to make her way back to the stroller and said I want to sit. Of course we let her. We walked around for a while and took her to the children’s play room and she was happy to get out of the stroller and play.
We met friends at the playground. R. walked very nicely from the car to the playground holding my hand. When we got inside the playground she wanted to run so I let go. She ran into the playground and then ran back and forth a couple of times, that same panicked run and look and then ran back to the gate. She came to get me and pulled my hand towards the handle to open the gate. I sent her father to get the stroller and a ball. She then sat in her stroller for about twenty minutes, watching my friend’s daughter play on a merry go round. She was quite happy, smiling and talking a little. We got her interested in the ball by giving it to her and chasing after it when she would throw it. After a while I would leave the ball on a play structure in sight and she would get out of the stroller and run after it and then run back to her stroller. We played that game for about half an hour.
I think her fear must have something to do with wide open spaces. I kind of hate to start bringing the stroller to the playground again. It’s not the hairy eyeballs I get from the other parents. It is more that I feel like we are making some progress on hand holding and walking in public. But on the other hand I hate to take away something that makes her feel comfortable. She will sit and calmly watch the other kids from her stroller and I think there is some value in that. I also think it will be easier to find ways to coax her out of the stroller than to find non-stroller ways to calm her enough to stay.