Spring has sprung, baby! Ah, the warmth, the shining sun, longer days. You already know how I feel about being cold, so the change has been great. And that, in turn, has made everything so much easier.
Ah, yes. Spring finally means throwing open your windows and allowing the fresh air to whirl those pesky winter germs away. It also means being conscious of lowering your decibel levels when screaming at your children as not to alarm the neighbors. And that’s hard.
Not to mention, spring brings with it a whole host of new “To-Do” items on the agenda, such as:
- more sports practices
- more sports games
- more driving to and from sports practices. And sports games.
- more outdoor play, so later bedtimes
- more laundry, because outdoor play results in dirtier children
- even more bathing (see above point)
- more errands for new sneakers, spring concert attire, birthday gifts
- more concerts, awards ceremonies, end of school preparations
- SPRING CLEANING: (Especially now that #6 is fully mobile. Nothing gives you more incentive to scrub your floors like watching your baby traipse his cute little baby hands & feet in the grime)
I HATE THEM.
Before you judge me, let me hasten to say that I loved them when I was a kid; even though they were, in retrospect, terrifying.
Metal. And concrete.
Welcome to… The Thunderdome.
Tetanus? Concussions? Ah, those were the days…
Playgrounds have come a long way since back in the day, so I get why kids love going to them. And I DO take my kids to them, because why should I cloister them in my own yard when I can unleash them on the unsuspecting public?
But here’s the deal. While I LOVE watching my kids frolic and play and enjoy themselves, -I really do- it’s just… not fun for the parent.
There. I said it.
But like any decent parent, I still take them. In fact, I did recently. And here are my observations/random thoughts about the experience.
1. Babies on the slide: Yes, it’s cute. But obviously, it requires hands-on attention. And if they like it, they want to do it again. And again.
Or else. You’re in for the long haul. And everyone within hearing’s distance will suffer the baby’s wrath when pried from it.
2. Toddlers on the slide: First of all, some don’t grasp the concept, and try to go down backwards. Or standing. On one foot. And when they finally DO get it, it’s not enough to keep sliding. Then they want to climb UP the slide. Regardless of anyone coming up, or DOWN for that matter.
3. Hidden Nooks & Crannies: The equipment that a small child enters, and seemingly disappears into without a trace. Which then forces you to cram your adult frame into it to find said child, who is nowhere to be found.
Panic begins to mount, but just in time, you discover THIS:
Hiding UNDER stuff. Because when you’re two, that’s comedy gold.
4. Stunts & Tumbles: Then there’s the older group; the kids that complain how “lame” the playground is, but spend the next hour attempting all manner of death-defying climbs & maneuvers. All while on the very farthest reaches of the playground.
5. They.Don’t.Stop.Moving. They’re pumped; the blood is flowing. And they run. To here. Over there. After each other. After no one. And the problem now is, you’re training your eye on not just one, but FIVE moving targets.
6. WTF is with the sand boxes?? WHY? Save it for the beach. Because the last thing I need is my kid(s) jumping in a gnarly public pile, then being coated from head to toe with sand grit. NO ONE WINS.
7. THIS MONSTROSITY: It’s a cross between a merry go round and a train derailment. Always a total mob scene, kids flung headfirst… basically total anarchy. And the parental dilemma: you don’t want to NOT watch your kid in case they tumble off & get punted to the pavement on the next go-around, yet….
you also DON’T want to be “that parent”: the one that is forced to spin the thing repeatedly and kick the fallen child victims back into play. (Sorry, dads, it’s you. We moms know better to step away.)
8. The “Forced Social Thing” I love people, I really do. Except at the playground. The parents who stand around silently by default, eying each other. And you know it’s coming… the stilted, first-date type conversation.
I’m not trying to be rude. But with six kids to supervise, it’s ok if we don’t swap kids’ names & ages. And your kid is eating the sand.
9. They NEVER WANT TO LEAVE: You could be there for three glorious, fun-filled hours, but once you announce it’s time to go, the meltdowns begin. At least one child will morph into a rubber jellyfish of protest, one will run, and a few will pout.
10. There’s Still Day Left: Yep. Stand on your feet for 1-2 hours, catch kids, carry kids, hunt down kids, cheer on kids, wipe kids’ noses, silently resent OTHER people’s bossy kids, haul your kids back home, and… it’s still going. Dinner. Bathtime. Bedtime. And so it goes…
Ok, so I’m not a playground fan. But I DO take my kids to them. Because, kids need to be kids. And they need to run, to laugh, to BE KIDS. And despite the effort, I do savor those glimpses of my babies savoring their childhood.
Not to mention…. all that play tires them out.
Motto.© Copyright 2014 Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom