necessary evil: playgrounds

a trip to a playground can feel like going to battle. sometimes the only way to win is to admit defeat. give in. forget about surfing instagram or texting people back. forget about even sitting down. forget about editing that blog post :-> if you're lucky maybe you will get a few minutes of solace while the kids become entranced with the sand pit or bouncy bridge. maybe catch up with another parent and commiserate. perhaps some photo opps.

and even if you don't, who cares. you get your time. at least i do. i schedule mine weeks in advance. i get in my fitness, my hair, bloggin' and some date nights, et cetera. but other than that it's all about max + knox. it's my job to make each day as amazing as it can possibly be for them. and one way of accomplishing this is by taking them to the park every day after school and at least once on the weekend. sometimes it is the last thing i want to do after a full day of work. i feel somewhat guilty saying and thinking that but it's true. and i'm not alone. one of my mom friends met up with us at the park one day. as we were pushing our respective kids on the swings (me one-handed, the other cradling knox) she said, "doesn't this just feel like work sometimes?" i let out a big sigh and nodded. because it can. and then we changed the subject and kept pushing. because we chose to be mom's. and we are so lucky to have this gig.

kids man. loving them is a battlefield.

and now, a round of tips. because i wasn't sure how else to wrap this post up. you're welcome!

1. bring a backpack. i trust no one and want my wallet, phone, keys, ect. on me at all times. shoulder bags, albeit cute, just don't work when you are running after and picking up kids. fannypacks are still being debated. proceed on that road with caution. it's a slippery slope. you're a mom but you don't want to fall into the trap of dressing for every outing like you're going hiking. you get one: berkies, cargo shorts or t-shirt. not all three. i mean come on. it's all about them but how you look is all YOU. i would never blame bad style on my kids. tisk, tisk!

2. bring snacks. especially water. have you ever been around a thirsty toddler without any water to give them? dude. avoid this at all costs. they can drink me under the table. also goldfish. they make them in whole wheat if that makes you more comfortable. earth balance also makes a vegan variety. but trust me. bring 'em if you got 'em. perhaps this should have been tip number 1.

3. toys. i go back and forth with this one. usually they just provoke other kids into trying to take them from your kids, and thus playground stalking can ensue. you'd be amazed at the lengths kids will go to to apprehend a plastic race car. or what they will do to hold on to it. "not worth it!" i want to scream. but i pick my battles. kids will be kids and sometimes that's ok. and can i just reply to this one text message? so it depends on the park now. but most of the time i find toys unnecessary.

3.5. try not hover too much. this one is subjective and the level of in-your-faceness depends on the kid. max loves me to be in his business all da time. knox is still small so i have to maintain relative closeness so he doesn't hurt himself. never gonna reply to that text. ever.

4. plan your exit route. do you ride the swings first or last? do we make a trip to the sandbox... did we go down the slide enough. do you have your goldfish to lure them away? read tip two again. i am telling you! tantrums are a real bleep*%!?

5. make friends. ugh. this one is hard for me. people scare me. parents give me anxiety. but i have learned they too are a necessary evil. because they know stuff. like other cool playgrounds, where to take the best whatever class and recommend kid-friendly restaurants and watering holes. they can also relate to your anxiety over sleeping and eating habits and poops. after a while you'll get brave enough to talk preschools. and back to poop again.

p.s.: i love you mom friends!

p.p.s.: awkward. moving on.

6. hmmmmm.

7. did i mention water and goldfish? well it's worth repeating. HOWEVER! don't make the mistake of teasing your kids with them. you break them out when nothing else will do. and that's the way it works. still don't believe me? well one time a person who's name rhymes with nosh taunted maxwell with a bag of goldfish. i forget what nosh wanted him to do but i was thinking in my head yea this is going to end badly. and it did. maxwell had a complete meltdown after being told he could have the goldfish only to have nosh say nevermind you can't have them. so obvis nosh finally gave in because dude now we had a scene on our hands (maxwell doesn't play!) and i was giving nosh mad daggers at this point. a hysterical maxwell takes the goldfish and proceeds to drop all of them on the ground. within 5 seconds a flock of pigeons came swooping down and ate the golden treats right in front of him. it was like so sad. and hilarious. we were stifling our laughter. moral of the story: you break out the emergency goldfish you hand them over, capiche?

dayum i wish i had a photo of that. it was better than that scene from birds.

8. and there it went. dang!

and so moral of the post: park life can be a good one. and it's over before you know it. just keep pushing. have fun + good luck out there. i am going on break!

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Sonia Cheek2 Comments