Monday, September 20, 2010

Top Ten Techniques for Swingers

In no real order, here are ten creative techniques for swinging a kid at the playground:

10. Ironman - I push a girl with one hand, executing one big push, and end up in a stance like Ironman always is after he shoots a 'repulser ray' from his palm. "Take that, evil-doer!" I think this one started because I would, trying to entertain myself, mutter 'Ironman!' somewhat under my breath. Now the girls ask for it by name - although they may have no idea who Ironman actually is.

9. Don't Drop the Baby - I hold a girl my arms like a baby (as she is still in the swing), give them lots of baby-talk and goo-goo's, then say, "But don't drop the baby," and... drop the 'baby'. To the girls this macabre act is, for some reason, apparently an absolute riot. Nothing like dropping babies to make people laugh, I always say.

8. BIG Pull/Push - I grab the swing by the chains, right next to the girl, yank back and let 'er rip! Usually a nice swing starter, sort of like the opening salvo of fireworks which is actually rather lame, but seems cool because it's just first.

7. Underdog - The classic. I pull the kiddo back, run really fast and push 'em up and over as I run underneath. The girls squeal with delight - as I immediately worry that I've either just dumped a girl upside down into the dirt from nine feet up or launched her into a tree.

6. Big Smack - While the girls are swinging in a small child's swing (the kind with the bucket-like seat) I imitate a pro wrestler and crank up the fanfare. "You want some of this, HUH!?!?" As they swing close, I do a big pose, smack my hands a couple of times together and then, just at the apex of their swing, I smack the front of the swing so it makes a good, solid 'smack!' sound - and also gives them a push. Usually also followed by a big faux pro wrestling rant, like "OH YEAH! BIG DADDY MADNESS!"

5. Knee/Foot Push - Stand in front of the girls, and push their knees or outstretched feet. Used primarily to actually see them as we talk about coloring, snacks, best friends, best-best friends, best-best-best-best friends EVER, stinky boys, etc.

4. Roller-Coaster - A Sally Grimes invention with great drama. Hold the top of the swing, start to slowly walk forward while making sounds like a roller coaster as the car is being chain-driven to the top of the first hill, push the girl back until you are completely extended, arms locked out, and holding her up in the air as high as you can. Then get out of the way. Peals of delighted laughter ensue.

3. Booty Smack - The name says it all. Really. Like all things involving the butt, this one is always a good 'go to' source of laughs.

2. Metronome - This should only be attempted by an advanced daddy. It's when you've mastered the normally pedestrian 'regular push' but can actually do it with TWO kids, having them so perfectly off-sync from each other, that you can push one with the left hand, then the other with the right, then the first with the left, then back to the right. Seeing it in action is just a thing of beauty, really... it's just... moving to see that kind of mad daddy skill...

1. (This one probably is the girls' #1 favorite:) Kick Daddy! - Like with all things, fake injuries to dad are the most fun! They swing back and try to kick me as I execute all sorts of dramatic and over-the-top moves to avoid the 'deadly feet' that are trying to knock my block off!!! (And if that seems like too many exclamation points, it's because I was imagining the 1970's-style promotional copy on the box such a 'game' might come in.)

How to add drama:

One for the money - Before any swing, simply countdown to blast-off or do a 'One for the money, two for the show...' count. Easy and yet brings forth lots of absolute bug-eyed anticipation and giggling.

Broken Coaster - Just as you reach the full extension of your body during a 'Roller Coaster', with the girl stuck in the air, you tell her the coaster is broken. Luckily, my girls are pretty well versed in mechanical repairs, canting the magical, "Fix. Fix. Fix." to take care of the problem. They are, like, better than MacGyver at fixing stuff. Really.

Taunting - "You want WHAT? Ironman? You're not READY for Ironman! Why, you're just a little GIRL. And you think you can handle an... IRONMAN? Pfffft - WHAT-EVER!" Ah, the drama of it all... too much fun.

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