In college, I learned that in the Aristotelian sense, using the word "hate" means that you literally wish for something to cease to exist. Okay so maybe “hate” is a strong word. Playgrounds are a necessary evil and there are even certain times of the day that I derive great pleasure from taking my son for a romp.
There are times, though, that I strongly dislike them, especially when the bigger kids swarm around the jungle gyms and swings and the areas where the newly minted walkers are mucking about.
I’ve seen many a toddler knocked over by an exuberant tween in my day. My son stares at them in awe. Not at the knocked over toddlers, of course -- he empathizes with them. Rather the dexterous and languid big boys fascinate him. He wants his body to do this and that. In time, I assure him, it will. The problem is that he has very little concept of time and endeavors to fling his body into actions it’s not ready to take on, despite my best motherly advice.
This peaks my anxiety, thus I must occasionally adopt the role of a “helicopter” mom, hovering over tire swings and looming along the surface of slides high and low. And so, naturally, I begin to resent the playground -- hate the playground -- for turning me into something I swore I would never be.
I’ve asked other parents moms about this and most of them echo the same sentiment. Their partners, on the other hand, usually dads that relish a good rough and tumble, love the playground. They can’t wait to get to the playground. The bigger the crowd on the playground, the better the playground. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with getting knocked over by the Biebers of the world. It’s the playground, the happiest place on earth.
If I’m lucky, I’ll come back as a dad in my next life. They’re like cool cucumbers while I’m more of a prickly pear.
What are your thoughts on the playground? Do you love it (like really, really love it) or fake it?
Image via hoyasmeg/Flickr