There are vast reasons that Cole and Stella are having a completely different childhood than the one I had growing up. I grew up in the same town until I left for college in Philadelphia, these kids will have put in more miles than most people before being fully school aged, they will likely never know a world without some tablet device sending dopamine inducing electronic pulse-rays into their brains (until the zombie apocalypse, when their dopamine addled brains will be particularly tasty to zombies who like to party).

During this camping trip though, we discovered this particular piece of equipment, which sent me straight back to 1st and 2nd grade:

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“Can I climb?” Cole asks me.

“YES ABSOLUTELY DUDE, go have fun!”

“Don’t call me dude.”

“Oh, right, sorry.”

These sorts of play areas went away in most places in the US while I was still a kid, replaced by incredibly safety conscious constructions that took a lot of the adrenalin inducing thrill of being at the top of a construction of unforgiving hard steel, being dared by classmates to leap from ever-higher climbs.

I’m so happy he got to climb one of these, that he’s able to play on all sorts of structures that parents in the US would get really worked up over needlessly. In talking about my previous post with a friend, I mentioned that I kind of took it personally that the kids were completely fine after an hour or two of play without dad around. her response reminded me that we might not be screwing these kids up too bad.

It’s weird isn’t it. Independent, well attached children who clearly knew you would come back and all would be well so they’re cool.”

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They have “safe” equipment to play on here as well, the entire area of Costa Brava seems heavily  invested in kid diversions. The area of L’Estartit we stayed in was littered with play areas all around the promenade.

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One device that I wasn’t able to get a photo of resembles something out of my Tough Guy race (if the Tough guy race were painted in lovingly bright primary and secondary colors), basically a 15 foot A-frame that Cole got to the top of in the time it took me to get Stella on a swing. When I saw he could get down the other side without my help, my heart swelled.

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When I was picking this image, Cole looked over my shoulder and said “Can I climb that daddy?”

“Someday, absolutely dude.”

“Don’t call me dude.”

“Oh right, crap. Sorry.”