children, kids, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

Park Politics

Wise for their size.

Having spent spring break doing local things with my boys, we visited our share of parks. There was the park at the library, the park in our subdivision and the play area at the zoo.

My approach to the park experience, especially since the boys have mastered them in a physical sense, is to step back and let the social politics of parkdom unfold without intervening.

This is so much easier said than done.

Since the boys are older, they handle themselves well for the most part. There is less threat of spontaneous smack-downs so I can relax a little.

The part that I have to watch myself is if any of the other kids attempt to be mean to my boys. I find that sometimes even the quiet girls holed up in the cubby at the top of the slide use words that cut like daggers.

Here’s what one such little girl said to T.Puzzle when he tried to use the slide. “You can’t come up here. You can never be here while we are here. You have to go away forever!”

I heard some defensive words start to creep up my throat and as they almost toppled from my mouth, I bit my tongue and took a step back. As much as I was longing to intervene, I wanted T.Puzzle to handle it. j

He did. He sort stepped over the girl and her unfortunate minions, and slid away. T.Puzzle and Full Speed continued to ignore the girls and their ridiculous demands.

I learned a lot watching them.

The best way to handle mean people is to ignore them and live your life.

Spend time with the people who support you and slide away as fast as you can from the ones who don’t.

children, happiness, kids, life in pictures, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting

Little Bits of Freedom

Over the weekend Mad Dog and I took the boys to a big, shady park.  The weather is finally starting to be less oppressively humid and outings to parks will be back on our regular agenda.  For Full Speed and T.Puzzle this is a beautiful thing.

It has been a few months since they have been at a park.  They have grown and matured even if I can’t see it fully in our day to day life.  They actually were able to run the park without me having to follow them.  Full Speed had already achieved this status a while ago, but this was the first time we were able to let them both run free.  T.Puzzle was able to physically master all the twists and turns of the convoluted park equipment.  His every movement was no longer precarious and panic-inducing.  He also has a better handle on his emotions so the chance of him physically lashing out at a fellow playground patron has also decreased substantially.  Of course Mad Dog and I didn’t take our eyes off of either of them.  We found a bench under a gorgeous live oak tree and sat back, watched the boys play and had an actual conversation.  

I didn’t know this was possible in a park setting.  I have spent the past years chasing, climbing and begging my boys to behave.  Playdates at the park have consisted of me running around like a crazy person and occasionally lobbing a thought at the Mom who met us there.  We never engaged in a full-length conversation.  The safety of my boys and my constant supervision of them to stop attacks on other kids prevented this.

So, to sit back and watch them have fun and actually feel relaxed was extraordinary.  I guess this is an example of the little bits of freedom parents gradually gain back as their children grow and mature.