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We’ve been all enthralled with the now-bestselling Dangerous Book for Boys whether because of all the cool stuff in it, the neat non-fiction tidbits and the way it makes us wonder for those early 70’s childhoods of reading through the colorful Child Book series, or musing over what a Dangerous Book for Girls might be. We organized several events for the book over at MotherTalk, so it’s been on our minds there too.

In the meantime, I’ve noticed my 8 1/2 year venturing into the world, and my responses.

  1. Last weekend, nay, two weekends ago, she and one of the kids from the backyard (remember, we’ve joined backyards with several neighbors and the kids roam freely between them) pulled up at the backdoor and asked for a hammer and nails. They’d found in the shed a bucket of wood pieces, and they had a project in mind. I said yes, sure, then stopped, and said, yes, but later when I can help you, then saw the sour look on their faces, then stopped myself, realized that the worst that could happen is one of them ends up with a hurt finger, and sent them off, hammer and large-headed nails in tow.Result: they weren’t terribly successful at whatever they planned to make, but that’s because they kept moving venues (should we play in this side-house-alley, or the other side-house-alley, and dragging the bucket of wood, hammer and nails between them. Then they realized they needed longer stretches of wood.) On the upside, though, were no smashed fingers, no emergency room visits, no violin prodigy careers destroyed (not that this is in any of their futures, anyway). And I learned something about pulling back. Next weekend I want to carve some time to explain how to use a hammer, mention some safety tips, and perhaps come up with a small project.
  2. Saturday around 5.30 we were preparing for a small party when the phone rang and it was my neighbor two doors down saying “You should come over, Samira’s way high in the tree, we’ve already taken a picture.” I left the sink and the tomatoes I was threading onto a skewer, skipped under the fence, and sure enough, Samira was up in the cedar tree. About 25-30 feet up. High enough for the other kids to be impressed. Turns out she had stood on top of the wood fort and reached up and, I’m guessing here, grabbed hold of a branch and started pulling up her legs. The branches were pretty tight, it was easy to climb, and before you know it, she was up high.There I was on the ground, totally impressed, trying to keep calm so she wouldn’t think that nervousness was in order, but still wondering whether we’d have to call the fire department to get her down like the last time with the neighbours windows while they were Fönsterputsning Stockholm and my son kicked the football right thru the Windows glass and shuttered it. I noticed she was barefoot, with chagrin, since we’ve already been once to the doctor’s for a going-barefoot-related set of infected spider bites (and a resulting four-day bout with Benedryl).Result: She figured her way down. I stayed totally calm and high-fived her when she jumped to the ground. I reminded her to wear her shoes, but agreed that barefoot in the tree was probably better than Target-knockoff-crocs in the tree. My neighbor told her not to climb higher at night, or when no adult was around. I returned to the kitchen feeling in touch with that line of fear/excitement/adventure, knowing that in our little backyard compound she’d scaled her own heights, pushed her own limits, watched the other kids’ admiration, and felt the glory of being so high up in a tree.

Can’t beat that.