Monday, August 25, 2014

Playgrounds are not for the weakest among us

I'm actually not a big fan of playgrounds.  In fact, they're kind of my last resort, we-need-to-get-out-of-this-house-and-I-can't-justify-another-trip-to-Target-quite-yet, option.  You might find yourself wondering something to the effect of "What is this malicious idiocy of which this woman writes??" right about now.  I know.  What normal parent revolts against a playground.  Isn't it the perfect way to let your kids act like little heathenish hooligans while you lounge on an uncomfortable bench in the blazing sun?  Perhaps for others...not for us.  Our children have this thing about playgrounds: we have to play with them there.  They insist on it, in fact.

Oh, the slides.

Oh, the ramps.

Oh, the ennnnnndless swing action.  Endless.  END-LESS. 

Both of the girls have this love-love relationship with swings.  They love them and don't want to get off of them because they looooove them (especially the baby swings with a nice little backrest, which our 5-year old would still use if given the option).  This means that whoever is on swing duty stands there in the aforementioned blazing sun mindlessly pushing a swing and staring at a) the back of the child (which is thrilling), b) other children playing (which starts to get creepy for the parents of the other children, I'm sure), or c) clouds (yay).  And if you try to multi-task while pushing a child in a swing, you WILL get whacked in the face.  You basically need to concentrate on doing nothing.  And the girls will do this for 20...25...30 minutes without a break.  That gives me enough time to start pulling out my hair with my non-pushing hand from the boredom.

Now that I'm down to 1 child during prime playground hours (i.e. the morning...have you noticed the kick-it-up-a-notch in humidity lately?), I'm giving it another go on the playground front and have scouted out a couple of near-ish playgrounds that the little sprout hasn't been to before, and they come with benefits...namely food.  Playground and a milkshake?  Yes, indeed.  Playground and some crepes?  Why, of course.  A little bit for the kid, a little bit for the mom.  Wait.  The kid gets in on the food action as well, so it's actually a two-fer for the kid and a one-fer for the mom.  But then again, I haven't told the boy or the oldest about taking the littlest on these adventures, and she doesn't blab, which turns out to be kind of a two-fer for the mom, too.  All is fair.

This morning, I took her to what is undoubtedly the coolest playground she has ever been within spitting distance of in her entire life, all 26 months of it.  AND, we were there allllll alllloooooonnnneeee.  This was some serious mojo working.  We had this sweet, sweet land of childhood all to ourselves, the sun was shining, we could still breath because it was only the mid-80s and around 80% humidity, and there was the promise of food at the end of it.  Happy morning to us all!!! 

And it was okay.  That's it.  Just okay.  'Cause the kid was kinda lost looking with such grandeur before her.  She wasn't on top of her playground game this morning, though we did hit up the swings 4 separate times, in between bouts of walking up ramps, walking across bridges, walking up ladders, and walking down steps.  Not a slide to be slid this morning.  I have no clue why; she's a slider usually. 

But the absolute low point of the morning happened when the teeter-totter got the best of me.  See, this was no ordinary teeter-totter but a 4-seater with reclining backs and extra resistance to account for the extra bodies.  In other words, 'ya actually had to work that sucker to get it to go if you're larger than an 8-year old.  Which I am.  Little one loved it, just 'bout as much as the swings.  Me?  Not so much.  Let's compare.

Teeter-totter:  in the blazing sun
Swings: all nestled in the shade

Teeter-totter: In order to work this one while sitting on it, I practically had to sit all the way down on the ground, and there was no give to it, so every time we went up, it was me standing straight up from that uber-awkward toddler squat position.  Hello, quad muscles.  Nice to meet you this fine morning.
Swings:  I stood there, fairly comfortably. 

Teeter-totter:  Quickly, I realized that I didn't have to sit on the contraption in order to bounce it up and down but could push at it like I was trying to resuscitate it's heart.  You feel somewhat conspicuous doing that with cars driving by.  What in the world is that crazy lady doing?  Does she even understand how to use a teeter-totter...maybe I should pull over and show her that you can actually sit on it and make it move.  My discovery precipitated this conversation.  Sweet cheeks (SC): What you doing, Mommy?  Me: It's too hard for me to fit on the teeter-totter.  My legs were giving out.  SC (flying up and down through the air with nary a care in the world):  My legs are giving out, too.  Me:  No, they're not.  SC:  Yes, they are.  My legs are giving out, too.  [Now imagine that she kept saying this for the next 2 minutes before getting off the device while she muttered it yet again as in "Mommy, I'm done.  My legs are giving out."]
Swing:  Still just standing there pushing every so often.

It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to feel decrepit in the face of childhood bliss when you barely feel grown up as it is.  Apparently, the 30s are when it gets real.  Firmly I believe, playgrounds are not for the weakest among us.  That would, obviously, be me.

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