Friday, September 02, 2011


I am on vacation this week, hangin' out with Kid Gleemonex, which has been awesome. Lots of fun stuff (you parents with just boys are missing out on the foofy tea-room restaurant experience, no kidding around), crafts, baking, lots of just nothing in particular (that's in short supply when both parents work, I tell you whut, and honestly it is restorative to the soul).

And but so one day, we went to a local park -- part of the appeal of the area where we live now is that it's absolutely lousy with well-tended parks. We took a picnic, and ate on our blanket in soft green grass under a shade tree -- it was lovely. But then, because we are at a park, we have to do park stuff.

Know what's fucking boring? Parks.

We went over to the sand play area, which to my surprise, for once in her life did not interest my kid -- five or six toddlers mucking around in the sand in the glaring sunlight, moms and nannies and what have you arranged nearby in what shade they could find, most either reading or on iPhones. The slides were too hot -- direct sun, doncha know -- so Kid Gleemonex wanted to swing. Christ, swings are boring for the one who is not doing the swinging, even when your kid is adorable and wants you to push her at varying speeds such as "monster fast," "rabbit fast," and "grass fast." Eventually she got done swinging and went over to the water play area (you push a button and these jets set into a rubberized surface start shooting at random intervals -- a little like the Bellagio only you can play in it and there's no music or light show or booze).

So I took my book* over to a shaded bench and read while she went to TOWN on that water thingy. And here's where I want to get back to the thing about all the moms and nannies on their iPhones and/or reading -- I never understood that, before I had a kid. I was all, oh that's so sad, why do they even HAVE kids if they don't want to play with them? But now I get it. I do. Parks used to be a place where you'd send a kid to play in relative peace and grown-up-free safety -- think about all those Amy & Laura books, the Fudge books, where the playground has nothing to do with parents whatsoever. But now instead of letting them go nuts and burn off all that kid energy farting around with other kids, we're supposed to ENGAGE with them -- hover right over them, climb up the fucking slide if we can fit through the thing, mediate sand-toy disputes with other small humans ... and that is FUCKING BORING. They like playing on playgrounds because they're KIDS -- to them, it's discovery! and skills! and daring! Which is great! But the actual stuff they do in these settings is b-b-b-b-boooooring for adults.

It's only that guilt -- "I should be over there, running through the water jets with her ..." that taints things. So I decided to let it go -- the kid was having an absolute blast, and it would've been less fun and over sooner if I had participated, so we each enjoyed our own age-appropriate activity, and we went home exhausted and happy.

The take-away: When you go to the park, take a book or something.

The end.

*The Help, if you must know. Shut up. SHUT UP I KNOW, OK?

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