Flashback Friday: I Hate the Playground

It’s that time of year again. It’s staying light outside longer, the weather’s getting warmer, the playground is calling… Too bad I hate it. Here’s why.

I Hate the Playground
(originally posted 5/08)

When we bought our house just before we got married, the postage stamp-sized yard was actually a plus. It was just big enough that we could enjoy a bit of the outdoors without being bogged down with yard work every weekend. ( I got my fill of that growing up — thanks, Dad!) However, I have given birth to an outdoorsy type. Therein lies the problem.

Now that it’s nice out and gets dark later, Miles wants to be outside 24/7. The minute he wakes up he’s clamoring to go out: “Wanna go to da park, mama. Go to da playground.” I have decided that I hate the playground. Let me count the reasons:

1. It’s dirty. “Well, duh,” you might be saying. Listen, I’m not some neat-freak who irons her toddler’s play clothes and can’t stand for him to get dirty. But Miles takes it to a new level. He BATHES himself in the dirt, digging it under his fingernails and caking it on his cheeks. He gets wood chips in his hair and every crevice of his clothing. And don’t get me started on the sandbox, which I have on good authority serves as a gigantic litter box for every cat in the neighborhood. Grossed out yet?

2. It’s confusing. We live near a large community playground where there are tons of communal toys left there for anyone to play with. Which is great, except that then Miles doesn’t understand why he can’t hop on every tricycle or toy car he comes across in somebody’s yard.

3. It’s embarrassing. Every time we go to the playground, there’s always at least one super-enthusiastic parent. You know, the one who’s whizzing down the slide with her kid, whooping it up, yelling, “Wow, honey! Great job! Isn’t this FUN?!!” As opposed to me, who’s sitting on a bench looking at her watch.

Miles will home in on this über-parent and follow them around incessantly, even inserting himself between the parent and their child, desperate to get in on the fun, as if he’s some poor, attention-starved orphan. One time he was actually shouting, “Look at me! Look at me!” to this poor dad who was trying to have some quality time with his daughter. Miles, chill! Desperation is not an attractive quality. Honestly, you’d think we ignored him all day.

4. It’s stressful. Another problem with the playground is that you have to constantly break up kid scuffles. “No, sweetie, that’s his truck. You can play with that one.” (Cut to me prying the truck out of Miles’ ridiculously strong grip.)

And if the other kid’s parent isn’t watching? Then you’re left in the awkward position of trying to discipline a stranger. “Um, you there — please don’t spit on the slide. We’d like to take a turn now, if that’s OK.” You never know how a situation like that’s going to play out. Will the kid flip out on you? Will his mom?

5. It’s so hard to say good-bye. Miles has never done well with transitions. That “we’re leaving in 5 minutes” spiel has zero effect. It always ends with me dragging him away kicking and screaming. Except for that one time he allowed himself to be bribed with a cereal bar.

So, there you have it — 5 reasons why I try to keep my son confined to our tiny yard. Leave it to me to take the fun out of a wholesome childhood pastime, right? Next week: Why I Hate the Circus and Disney World, Too.


Modern Mom said…

hahaha! I'm glad to know I am not hte only mother who doesn't always want to go to the park! Sometimes I am the super enthusiastic mom that plays on the slide – and sometimes I'm dragged there and counting down the minutes.

Although, I am excited about my 3 yr old now being able to ride his bike outside instead of all around our house (and almost running over his little brother). 🙂

Neena said…

I'm usually the mom on the other side of the playground staring at my watch, too!

Ali said…

I will be giving birth to a baby boy in less than 5 months, and I'm already dreading the park. I took my nieces once and it was really awkward. I find myself insecure about what the other moms are thinking.

And you point about disciplining other children is probably one of the things I look forward to the least.

Maybe we'll just build a swing set in the backyard!

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said…

I could not agree more! Especially the part about having to discipline other kids with inattentive parents. I had some words with a kid that hucked a bouncy ball right at me and my boy once. Nothing pisses me off more than bratty kids with parents who don't pay attention!

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