When youth challenges age in the playground, competition is fierce

Thank goodness for Ruby (not her real name), my almost-teenage granddaughter.  When she visits on Mondays after school, she often takes me to the local playground and sets challenges. This spurs me on, and  I might even secretly practise on Saturday mornings when I take 3-year-old grandson Finn (not his real name) to the very same playground. I’m not saying I do. I’m not saying I don’t.

We are both fiercely competitive on these occasions, but we are also kind.

Yesterday challenge #1 was a race over a very steep, rough track up and down a hill.  I always win this one, because I am fearless.

Rachel standing on a high fence.

I climbed the fence!

Challenge #2 was climbing an unclimbable barrier around a tree, using a conveniently placed stick. For the first time, I actually achieved this. Feeling proud! But Ruby did it faster.

The pigeon-toed approach to walking a log.

The pigeon-toed approach to walking a log.

Challenge #3 was to walk along a log barrier without falling off. I achieved about 20 metres by dint of a new pigeon-toed technique.


The Peter Pan way of falling off a log.

Falling off a log is easy, I grant you that. But this too became a joyful event when I applied the Peter Pan technique. I lost the challenge but improved my personal best.

Challenge #4 was swinging from the monkey bars. Ruby always beats me but I did make it to the fifth bar. Not bad, huh?

Who can swing the highest?

Who can swing the highest?

The fifth challenge was impossible for us to judge: who could swing highest? I reckon we were quits.

Final score: Ruby: 3, Granny: 1, R&G equal: 1.

Do you have grandchildren who push you beyond your personal best? If so, you know how lucky you are.

Thanks to Ruby for the photos. Masterly!



9 thoughts on “When youth challenges age in the playground, competition is fierce

  1. GeorgieMoon says:

    Goodness, you are a very energetic granny! I could do the swings and the pole walking, but I’ll pass on the monkey bars. My eldest grandchild is only three and a half, and he is more into challenges involving which animal can we think of that does the smelliest poo. I won that one with the furry lesser toed spiny anteater ……..

    1. I adore your version of competition. It is every bit as challenging!

  2. Very impressed! Climbing is not my strength, so I’d skip the fence around the tree. The balancing challenges are the best, I’d think, since it’s so important to maintain balance as we age. Love the relationship you have with your granddaughter!

    1. Lucky indeed! With tiny children we pretend to compete but with an almost-teen who is taller than us, winning is rare! Yes, balancing gets tough in later years so I am keen to work on that one. Ruby is a gem.

  3. Oh, boy. I had better get into better shape so I am ready for grandchildren! That was so fun and inspiring!

    1. Luckily experience makes us unbeatable in most of the non-physical challenges they set. Don’t panic!

  4. Robyn Haynes says:

    Delightful Rachel! I’m certainly challenged to be my personal best with my grandies all the time. We have adventures in the parks and on the beach. And there are competitions like who can tell the best horror story to frighten the socks off each other. I love being a grandma.

    1. I think it’s hugely satisfying for children to win. Keeping (fairly) honest is an additional challenge at times! Your grandchildren know how to keep you on your toes. I agree, grandparenting is a joy and a privilege.

      1. Robyn Haynes says:

        My competitive self gets the better of me sometimes so I’m reassured by your comment 🙂