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Kid Spontaneously Leans How To Swing Herself
She wants to kick as high as the tweens; parents rest their pushing arms after for long years
The earliest video evidence I have of Kina in a swing is from July 20th, 2017. In the video in question, taken at our beloved Rodney (now “Strawberry”) Playground, a seven month old child—clearly too small for the little bucket swing in which she was sitting—rocks gently back and forth, hanging her arms over the front of the swing. It is my arm in the video, pushing her. She was very light.
A few months later, from almost exactly four years ago, another video: Kina, still small, laughing wildly as we push her to a reasonably normal height. She was still tiny enough that we had to stuff the swing with blankets to keep her from bonking her head. Laurea pushes her in this video.
In March of 2018, Kina was old enough to know how to hold the bars on the swing, and how to control her upper body in the swing so as not to be whipped wildly around as the swing went higher. Laurea pushes.
Christmas of 2018, in a swing that Kina’s Lolo Tim and Lala installed, ingeniously, on their front porch. Kina yells “Wowwww!” as she rides her very own personal swing, which Lolo Tim has said can be adjusted as she gets bigger. The swing can hold the weight of a full-grown Lolo Tim. Many people push her.
In April of 2019, both my brother Ken and I push Kina on a swing in McCarren Park. She seems more sedate, as if she is taking our work for granted. She is.
At the beginning of March, in 2020, there is a photo of Kina at the apex of a push in a “big girl” swing. The ground is wet with rain, and there are few other kids around. I am there alone with her, so I am pushing. She is new to big girl swings, so all of it is new to us, and both of us are slightly cautious. It felt momentous. It was, of course, for various unrelated reasons.
In July of 2020, when the playgrounds reopened. She is wearing her Hello Kitty helmet. I push.
That same September, when Niki came back. They swing on their tummies like superheroes.
November, when she began to kick her legs out ineffectually, but with promise.
This May, leaning back in her big girl swing and looking at the sky as her Lala swings next to her. I am still pushing.
July, at our friends’ house in Jersey, standing on a swing and pushing up and down with her legs to move herself around. This she did alone, and it was encouraging.
Yesterday, in Washington Square, as I slowly stepped back from the swing and watched her propel herself back and forth by kicking her legs out at exactly the right moment, in synchrony with the twelve year old girl to her left. Kina slouched very slightly back as she stretched out her legs, letting her toes reach for the lowest branches of the tree just outside the fence. Periodically, almost nostalgically, she asks me to give her a little push, but she doesn’t need it. I stand back, not exactly knowing what to do with myself, stretching my arms and watching her go. On her right, in a bucket swing, is a little boy whose father urges him to swing his little legs. Even so, the father is clearly glad to push.