Chapter 43: Jacob's Playground

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Jacob and his caregivers spent the weekend resting and recovering.

Simon and Angelique had agreed that Jacob needed some exercise. The child had been uncharacteristically disobedient, and that landed him in time out quite a few times that morning. His caregivers sensed his restlessness and attributed it to his limited physical activity over the past few days.

Spending all day cooped up inside just wouldn't do for a rambunctious two-year old boy. He needed unstructured time to be gleeful, free and lively. He needed the opportunity to dive face first into a sandbox, collect colorful, fallen leaves from the ground and pretend to be king of the world with a broken branch as his scepter. He needed his helicopter parents to let him be the little boy that he was, one that could take a fall without breaking into a million tiny pieces.

From his seat on a wooden bench, little eyes explored the colorful, enticing recreational equipment scattered across the enclosed park. Angelique admonished his fidgeting as she struggled to apply sunscreen to the visibly eager boy. When he finally stilled in her grasp, she rubbed a thin layer of the cream onto his face, tightened his laces and helped him off the bench.

After his caregivers gave him permission, Jacob sprinted away to the nearby climber that had caught his eye. Simon and Angelique followed behind him, taking pictures of him with their phones. With a few boosts from Simon, Jacob climbed up the rock wall and cheered once he made it to the top. His caregivers gave him high-fives, and Simon helped the boy down, eager to move him away from the ledge.

Angelique had excused her husband's minor interferences on the playground. A helping hand every now and then and the occasional anxious cautioning were permissible, but when Simon diverted Jacob away from the monkey bars, Angelique stepped in and unceremoniously dragged Simon away to a nearby bench.

"What's wrong?" Simon asked when they sat down.

"You're letting your anxiety make you hover," Angelique lectured, handing him a pair of shades. "Relax. He will be fine, and we can enjoy the sun."

Simon sighed. He knew that his wife was right but understanding that didn't make it any easier to watch Jacob run around on his daring and significant risk-taking ventures. Cringing, Simon paid close attention as Jacob flew slid face first into the large plastic tube. He didn't release the breath he was holding until the boy landed safely in the sand.

Eventually, Simon did manage to relax enough to pull out his cell phone and browse social media, looking up to check on Jacob only occasionally. With speedy thumbs, he congratulated Daniel on his latest promotion, complimented Diane on the amazing Halloween costume that she had crafted for Noah and checked up on his mother-in-law, Sophia.

"Honey?" Angelique asked. "What's the youngest age that you would feel comfortable with babysitting Jacob?"

"I'm honestly not sure," Simon answered, looking over at her a tad confused. "Are you planning a date night?"

"No, but our anniversary is coming up," Angelique reminded him, scrolling through babysitter listings. "I don't want to find one at the last minute."

"Oh," Simon replied. He hadn't realized how quickly the date was approaching. Since Jacob became a part of their household, the days were passing by faster than ever before. But he did want to help with looking for a babysitter and suggested, "What about the college student, Kimberly?"

"I don't know if she does babysitting," his wife replied, nodding her head. "I'll ask."

"Hopefully she does," Simon began, remembering his interactions with the young adult. "I think she would get along well with Jacob."

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