Monday, July 11, 2011

The Battle

It's 10:12 AM. I am facing my nemesis across an island of green grass.

I stretch, pop my neck back and forth.

I do several jumping jacks. Okay, I do one. Okay, half of one.

I yell out "Let's go!!! C'mon, I'm not afraid!!"

I take a deep breath.

I am primed, ready for battle.

It glows, my nemesis. It gleams in the early morning light.

It thinks it's soooo tough. Soooo fancy.

It is the children's playground.

Yes, that's right. A playground. Swings, slides and the like.


Yeah yeah, go ahead and laugh.

But there are a thousand booby traps there among the metal and mulch.

Okay, not a thousand. Like, 2300. Or 5. Yeah.

I'm gonna outline them for ya. Ready?

1. Cigarette butts.

Do you know how many times I have caught my child trying to eat one of these? Ew. Or, that one time that I found one IN HIS MOUTH? *shudder*
Please, for the love of God, I don't care if you smoke...really I don't. But can you do it somewhere other than where my filth magnet can get to your nasty cancer ridden butts? Huh? Every time we go I have the urge to mask my child like Hannibal Lechter.
Which may help me avoid booby trap number 2.

2. The other mommy.

Oh you know the one. The one who has her child covered in all natural sunscreen made by yeti's somewhere in the vast unknown, who's child only plays with wood toys, has never had a bite of sugar or processed food, and who is a genius, natch. You look at your own child, covered in aerosol sunscreen and a too small hat drinking lemonade from a Cars sippy cup and eating mulch and you feel, well...bad.

Or the ultra competitive mom. The one who's child has done more than yours could ever dream of. One thousand summer camps. College level art classes. They just stopped at the park on their way to tennis lessons, then on to violin. You look at her kid eating mulch with yours and you feel, well...a little smug.

Or the mom. Oh the mom. The one who's child knocks yours over, yells in her ear, throws sand and dirt, and tramples the smaller kids on his way to the slide. The one who calls gently after him, "Please don't push the little boys face into the dirt!" "Please don't throw yourself off the slide onto other people." "Please don't hit mommy!" and so on. You look at her child and feel...well, rage.

3. The public restrooms

Need I elaborate? Didn't think so.

4. The playground itself

Or as I like to call it, the maze of death. You watch your child go up with a gut wrenching wave of despair, and debate...Do I follow him up there or from down below? Do I try to keep him from falling or catch him when he does fall? How loud do I have to yell for him to hear me, really? I pretty sure I just bruised my larynx.

I spend the entire time he is meandering to the slide panicking. Why the heck do they have to have HUGE openings that kids can fall through? I just don't get it! What are they thinking when they plan these things? "Well look, maybe little Johnny might wanna slide down a pole like a fireman to break his legs!" "Maybe little Susie would enjoy smacking her head on every step of a ladder on her way down to the hard ground!" "Kids LOVE a trip to the germ ridden ER!"

I just don't get it. The playground is for children! Make it safe for children to play on, not for acrobats to frolic in. Common sense, playground maker people!

5.The "We are leaving!" meltdown.

It starts almost when we ge there.


Then you begin the countdown. "Ten minutes!" and so on. All the way down to one, at which time you have to do the chase. Like the one from Indiana Jones but more terrifying and painful. You know the one. Where you are chasing your child yelling "Come back here right now!!! Mommy said we have to go. Don't you dare go back up to the slide...Okay, slide one more time and we are leaving!" You wait at the bottom of the slide, thinking, aha!, I've got him trapped now. Then the little sucker sees your shadow and climbs back up.

Twenty minutes later you are dragging both of your filthy children from the park while one or the both of them does the spaghetti legs routine. You alternate between dragging one and carrying the other, but the car is far away and it's hot so you just drag them both. People stare. You get to the car, strap them in, and then cry a little on the bumper. Then you go to ChikFilA because you are a masochist and enjoy a lunch filled with whining and screaming.

So, what are your plans for today, my friend? Oh you WERE gonna take the kids to the playground. Ahem. Sorry about that. Perhaps the pool insead?