Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer Park Tour: An Introduction

I have a love/hate relationship with parks.

Up until a couple years ago I viewed play structures as germ infested, ill-behaved-children-magnets, where a broken arm and child abduction were waiting to happen. I attribute this to the fact that I don’t remember ever going to the park as a child.

This is understandable. I spent the first years of my life in Los Angeles in the late 70’s, when the crime rate was rising... fast.

Seven years later when we moved “behind the Orange curtain” a healthy fear of strangers (and anything that moved) was already fully ingrained in me. I spent a lot of time reading and playing with my Barbie dolls... which is why I have a JD and fantastic purses. I couldn’t tell you the closest parks to my childhood homes.

Two things have happened to change my view on parks.

First, I need fresh air. I am unsure why this is, as I have always been an indoor gal and homebody. Suddenly, I have to have the windows open year round and need to get outside more than when I was younger. In the early morning and late afternoon you will find me folding laundry on the front porch while the kids play in the courtyard. Yes it is tacky, especially when I am still in my bathrobe and my hair is a hot mess, but I think it does something for my serotonin levels.

Second, I have friends with kids. This means when you get together to see the other moms, it is most likely at a park. I’m not going to lie. I dreaded these get togethers when the boys were younger. While Vincent was content to sit with a bucket and a dump truck in the sand, Franklin was fearlessly trying to climb something too big for him. I would spend most the time protecting Franklin from falling over a ledge and making sure strange men were actually there with a child, and not looking at mine. If I contributed to or heard a conversation the other moms were engaged in it was a banner day.

But slowly, something changed. I started looking forward to watching Franklin’s zest for adventure and seeing Vincent interact with kids other than his brother. The boys could run and play for an hour without squabbling and the fresh air did me good. When Colette was an infant it was easy to park her in the infant carrier or carry her in the sling while we got out of the house for a bit.

Some things have not changed. I still look out for strangers. I throw the kids in the shower as soon as we get home so no one gets meningitis. I fear broken bones. However, I love the park.

We have been in a park rut the last few months. We tend to go the same one over and over again. It is an amazing park, but in the interest of expanding our horizons and finding other great places to play, we are starting the Summer Park Tour. Our maiden adventure was last night. I was going to post about it today, but think I will save it until next time. If you have read this far you are a saint...or don’t want to do the dishes...or go to Zumba class.

So, for now I will leave you with the anticipation of the SPT. It sure beats the NGSS (New Grocery Store Search), which I started this morning!

Have a great Thursday!


1 comment:

  1. This is a great idea!
    I just read about something similar in a magazine. A mom made a Park Passport for her kid.

    I am still a little afraid of parks and playgrounds for just about all your reasons above, mainly---sbj getting hurt and strangers...

    This is on our list for next year...maybe Spring-time! Thanks for the idea! Hope yall have fun!