If there's one thing
does really well (other than theatre
and food and architecture and overall awesomeness, that is) it's parks. There
are the famous ones in the middle that everyone knows about, but you'll also
find a decent park or two in most non-royal neighbourhoods. Where we live in London South London, we're lucky enough to be surrounded by
three large parks, all of which have pretty awesome playgrounds. The only
drawback is that whatever mascochist designed the two with the best playgrounds
decided to build them at the very top of a massive hill.
This is good news for burning off a few extra calories, but bad news for having a SUPER FUN DAY AT THE PARK with a toddler who craves both independence and lacks a sense of time/logic in equal measure. So our days at the park go a little like this:
1. I wrestle a screaming Jack into his stroller so we can actually get to the park in less than an hour.
2. He quickly calms down due to my awesome toddler whispering skills and/or a banana bribe.
3. We arrive at the park and he begins frantically trying to undo the harness (crying again).
4. I release him and he charges up the path. Then down the path. Then up. Then down. This goes on for quite some time, as I try to coax him to continue in an upward direction to the SUPER FUN park!
5. Since he can't actually see the park and doesn't understand even the near future, this doesn't work.
6. More running up and down the first 10 metres of the hill.
7. I finally pick him up (screaming again, of course) and carry his enraged, writhing body up the hill.
7b.Joggers, people on dates and people reading books look at me like I am a kidnapper, or possibly a murderer.
7c. Other parents look at us with a fond and understanding smile.
8. We get to the park and all is forgotten. Jack has SUPER FUN for about half an hour.
9. Jack tries to steal someone's scooter/babydoll stroller. I stop him. More tears ensue.
10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 at least once (each time his attempt at burglary is just a little more subtle and sly).
11. Time to go. Sometimes this just works and he happily leaves with me. Well, it did that one time. Mostly I end up looking like a murderer again, but that's ok, because I am among my people.
12. Jack calms down again. All is well.
13. Jack decides to assert his independence and run, laughing like a madman, down the hill.
14. Jack falls on his face and cries.
15. Repeat steps 12-14
16. I wrestle him back into the stroller, or just as often we stroll back together the long way.
A day at the park might not be super relaxing as it used to be, but despite the tears and thievery and possibly being ratted out to the cops for child abduction by a well-meaning stranger? It is indeed SUPER FUN.