Park life

Is your inner ear just a little bit out of order now that you’re older? I did a roly-poly down a grassy slope with Little G and am now sick as a dog with motion sickness.  That was two nauseating hours ago.  I remember doing a lot of roly-polling in the botanical gardens as a child and it was heaps of fun.  There was nothing fun about today’s roly poly.  Nothing.  I got covered in grass and almost vomited.  When I could finally open my eyes to see which way up I was lying, Glenn and little G were standing over me with Glenn saying happily ‘look out, I think mummy’s chucked a whitey…’.

Sometimes when I’m revving myself up to go to the park I say to myself that this time I will be completely active the whole time.  Definitely.  That way I will be killing two birds with one stone: getting fit and spending quality time with G.  The plan is obviously to emerge from the park like a flushed athletic supermodel with a fantastic bond with her child. Instead I usually pike out, pathetically, the fourth time he climbs the ladder to the slide.  And if he starts going through tunnels just forget about it.

Little G taunting me by the fireman's pole.
Little G taunting me by the fireman’s pole.

Parks aren’t always that fun for parents.  You might plan on catching up with your friend and her new baby or your book, but that’s a bit of a fantasy really.  Like the fantasy of relaxing baths with kids.  Someone always gets the tap end and it’s mostly me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a tub with G.  It just doesn’t match up with the image in my mind.  That image involves a much larger (cleaner) bath, with bubbles and a child who doesn’t insist that we are joined by the entire cast of The Octonauts.

In the park if G runs off happily on his own and provided he’s not headed for a danger zone, I find myself a perch and sit on it.  I can do this now that he’s four and less likely to slip off the side that has the fireman’s pole.  Those poles have given me many heart attacks over the last four years.  Playground designers – you do interesting work.

Like most parents, I take great pleasure in watching my son interacting with other kids.  And in any case, you do have to keep an eye out in case they stumble in the gravel or get snatched.  I haven’t gone through pregnancy, child birth, newborn and toddler stages only to have to go home and tell Glenn his only child has been stolen from the local park.  Once I lost Barney in some scrub near a walking track.  I had let him off the lead for a run and he took off after a waft of forbidden wildlife and didn’t come back for twenty minutes.  That was twenty terrified minutes of thinking I might have to go home and show poor Glenn the empty dog lead.  Lesson learned.

I do secretly wish sometimes that those mad-looking kiddie harnesses were more acceptable.  Last night as we were walking near the busy wharf and G was making me nervous by (a) wanting to run close to the edge and (b) constantly letting go of my hand.  I asked him, semi-jokingly, if he’d mind if I had him on some kind of long long long long leash.  His reply was a disbelieving giggle. Ok, so I won’t be getting one.  I think perhaps if they can talk then it’s a bit too late anyway.

I’m really not getting one. Please don’t stop reading our blog.