At first, I was thinking it would be better if the playground was empty. Then I could show her everything and have no running, screaming kids around. But it turned out that the PreK kids were out in the playground and they were plenty excited to see HRH.
One little boy ran straight up with his arm extended, "Can I pet Berkeley?" he cried as he came in closer. At the same time the PreK assistant was shouting, "Jeffrey, you can't pet Berkeley! She's invisible! Don't look at her!" Jeffrey was confused by this as, clearly, HRH was right in front of him and he gave me a strange look. His hand was two inches from her coat.
"You can't pet her, sweetie. She's working. Remember the rules?" He kind of squinted up his eyes at me like I had popped a dream in his face. He frowned. His hand fell. "We came to find out how the playground works," I told him. He looked at me again. Perhaps there was a way he could be of use. I could see the wheels turning in his head.
I turned and started to walk towards the slides and stairs and poles. At that moment, it was like I was in the middle of a vast river. Like I was a salmon swimming upstream. There were all sorts of little bodies colliding not so innocently with me and with HRH, arms brushing up against her, sighs, oohs and aaahs, coming from the children as the two PreK assistants tried in vain to keep our way clear:
"Don't look at Berkeley! She's invisible! Don't touch her!"
Finally, I hit upon the idea of having the kids use the equipment for HRH to watch. "Would someone like to show Berkeley how to use the slide? She's never seen a slide before."
Ten small bodies hurled themselves towards the double slide and then in a very quiet and orderly fashion slid down. Everyone of them, upon hitting the dirt looked, not at me, but to HRH for approval on their slide down. I'm assuming she gave it, for they seemed satisfied and continued to slide away.
I moved us over to the curly fireman's pole. The sliders moved over. Next came the steps and the curvy slide.
Then it was time for photos and the coat to come off. After HRH stood calmly and let them swarm her for some loving, I said I needed to put her coat back on. I was attaching the velcro when one little girl knelt down and grabbed her strap and then with careful attention to detail got the two ends to meet and hooked the strap end together.
"Thank you!" I told her. She smiled up at me. It was a nice way to end the visit.
Jan Connors took all the photos and the videos and did a darn fine job of it!