Sunday, June 20, 2010

stuff is still almost just happening!

sunday was conventionally a better weather day than saturday. it was sunny and warm, and when those two dudes get together, it usually spells playground. hanging out at the playground is probably my least favorite way to spend time with bebe, for a couple different reasons. would you like to know what they are? sweet, because imma tell you.

first of all, bebe spends a lot of time at various playgrounds with her auntie, her mommy, and morrie and his mommy. part of my parenting outlook or strategy is to keep exposing her to new experiences. i feel like it's a big world and you should try and take in as much of it as you can. i'd like to be the kind of parent that offers life experience in the same way we try to offer her her food: put a bunch of things on a plate and let her choose which ones to try.

most playgrounds in the city, because they're in an urban area, are fenced in. this makes a ton of sense. what it also does is turn these places into lawless hell holes where parents dump their kids to run rough-shod over everyone else while they stand around looking totally disinterested, or talking about stupid shit with other parents who are also not watching their kids.

call me old fashioned, but when i go to the playground with my little girl, it's to play. i take it very seriously. i check my competitive nature at the door (or gate, as it were) so i'm not the thirty-something dude pushing little kids out of the way to get to the monkey-bars or racing three year olds down the slide. but i do treat the modern urban playground a bit like an obstacle course and i act accordingly. but how high i swing is not the point here.

i play. with bebe. the last thing i want to do, under any circumstances, is stand around talking to other parents about this and that, play groups, product recalls, how i never get any sleep, all the movies i've missed, the latest funny little thing my kid has done, or for crap's sake what it is i do for a living. you want to see infinity? picture this, and assume i am forced to participate and engage: there are two doors. one goes to a playground filled only with parents standing around talking their inane talk. the other goes to a mixer for the nazi party. i could stand at that crossroads FOREVER.

besides the fact that all that talk just makes me tired, what the hell is your kid doing while you chat/flirt with the other parents? oh, that's right. the other semi-annoying thing is that for many of these other parents (who tend to mostly be women), the play ground represents their only outlet to the outside world. one where you used to get all pretty and dressed up and go out with the "girls" and flirt with that cute guy because it's fun and makes you feel like you're still young and whatever blah blah blah. so if you were that girl who had to have every guy's attention and be the life of the party, you're still that girl. only now, you're some body's mom and while you're dressed in your too-tight for recreation of any kind clothes and chatting up joe dad while he pushes his kid on the swing, your kid is eating rocks or peeing down the slide or shoving some other littler kid (who is also not being watched by his/her parents) into the dirt or off of a bench or whatever.

at the playground the other day i saw a little girl who was maybe two-and-a-half climb up onto a stone wall/bench, then roll herself accidentally off onto her head. i flinched because her mom was sitting on a bench on the exact opposite side of the playground talking animatedly about how hard it is to keep an eye on her daughter (no lie). by the time i got close, the little girl and risen to her feet, wailing. she looked around brushing tears from her cheeks, noticing that no one was paying any attention to her. after a second of looking around, and a second more of still no one giving a crap, she shrugged and ran off to play some more. i guess she's just used to it.

i get that it's hard to get a break, and it's tough when your social life goes away and gets replaced by stinky diapers and lack of sleep and there's no stimulating conversation. and for me it's an easier thing to accept because i'm not very social by nature and do surprisingly well with a busted sleep schedule. i try not to be harsh when it comes to judging other parents, but the playground is not a television set. this is true, it's a scientific fact. google it.

what i mean is that the playground is used in the same way that the television is used to distract kids so parents can get a break. and just because one involves the outdoors and some exercise (i'll let you guess which one) doesn't mean you get to stop being parental.

i hate an environment where, because you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing, i have to do your job for you, because if i don't it directly impacts the quality of the experience that my child will have. if you're not there to tell your kid that he/she needs to wait his/her turn and not just shove other kids (my daughter) out of the way because she's smaller, then i'm going to. if you don't like me scolding your kid or removing them from my child's personal space, then you should put your cellphone down and come deal with it yourself. one of these days i'm going to kick one of these milf-soccer mom used-to-be head cheerleader or what ever's asses, but it thankfully won't be in front of her children because who the hell knows where they are?

who wouldn't want to rock the hell out of playing with this kid? damn. she screeches on the swings, goes up the slide backwards, and jumps around like a maniac. and she still manages to be respectful of other people.

playgrounds suck.

but on the way back, we get to stop for trains:

"i think i hear one!"


"woo woo! ORANGE TRAIN!!!"


  1. you so read my mind about playgrounds!

  2. I've got to disagree about the playground! Partially, at least. It is a great place for kids to get some freedom in a benign environment. Yes, parents need to at least be aware of what is going on, but the kids don't need to have someone hovering to fight every little battle, kiss every little scrape. If I've learned anything in the last ten years as a parent is it that most of those little tussles evaporate when the parents aren't present.