My family lived right across the street from a park when I was little.  It was a great park.  There was a huge grassy area with great trees for climbing, and one of the best playgrounds I’ve ever seen.

Unfortunately, after my little sister Gwendolyn was born we couldn’t play there as often.

Why?

When Gwen was almost a toddler, Mom decided we could take the her to the park.  Shawn and I were excited to show our baby sister all our favorite parts of the park.

When we arrived at the park, Mom told us to go play while she got the baby comfortable.  Shawn and I ran off.  Mom set out a blanket by the sand lot and placed Gwen on the ground to let her explore. The first thing Gwen did was eat sand and start screaming.

Mom cleaned Gwen up, and told her not to eat sand again.  She wasn’t particularly concerned.  That’s a totally normal thing for a baby to do.  Shawn and I ate sand when we were younger than Gwen and we immediately learned to never do that again.  It’s like of like a right of passage for babies.  In my head, it kind of goes like this:

But Gwen wasn’t a normal baby.

 

Mom scooped Gwen up and tried to clean out her mouth again.  Gwen fought her and tried to grab more sand to eat, even though she clearly did not enjoy eating sand.

 

Gwen wouldn’t stop. Nothing could break her now laser-like focus on eating as much of the sand she hated eating as she could.

So Mom gathered her up and found me and Shawn.

I protested. We’d just gotten to the park. We’d barely done anything yet! Why did we have to go?

That’s why we couldn’t go to the park as much.