Monday, October 17, 2011

My (first?) less-than-stellar parenting moment

So yesterday Fiona, LN, and I went to one of the parks down by the river. We've been before, but if you HAVE to go outside, it' s hard to beat a beautiful fall day with temps in the 70's. Fiona enjoyed running around, swinging, and, most especially, the slides.

Now, if you don't have kids under 10, you may not have been hanging around kid's playgrounds recently (I hope,) but there have apparently been some major advances in playground technology. After the lawsuit happy 90's, it appears that public spaces have started having huge playground jungle gym'y sorta things, with swings and slides and monkey bars, etc, all built in. While there remain the swings with long enough chains to play 'swing war,' toddler swings have improved: there is the equivalent of a bucket with 4 holes in it (one for each leg?) that you drop the child into. This minimizes the chance of the buckle on the front coming off, and the kid flying off. Advantage: Swing 2000.

Slides in *my* day were long, straight, and metal: think a Papa John's prep table at a 45-degree angle. You generally would climb up to the top of a steep, 10' tall ladder, always keeping 3 points connected to the metal grate The stainless steel provided a smooth sailing for any cloth-covered piece of your body, with one caveat. Any day with direct sunlight allowed the slide to reach a balmy 211 degrees F: almost hot enough to boil water, but easily more than enough to scald your inner thigh. Slides today seem to be both curvy (especially nice for the toddler set, allowing Dad an extra chance or two to catch them on the way down) and HDPE. They still get warm, but not 'fry an egg' hot.

Long story short - Fi loved the slides. I mean LOVED THEM loved them. We tried to make her the responsible one for climbing back up . It seemed that making her do the hard work of gaining all of that potential energy would make the transfer into kinetic that much more rewarding. She did a bunch of that (approx 1.2 kW (kidowatts,)) then got back to her secondary job of moving mulch from one side of the park another.

At this point, Fi was wandering around without really paying attention where she was going. I guess it was about time for her to learn to watch where she was going, so, too late, I saw her walking in FRONT of the bottom of a big-kids slide. Her mom and I both saw what was happening a little too late; Ellen's first thought was apparently "oh no - i don't want that kid who is going to run into my daughter to feel too guilty." And mine was "it's going to happen, but i don't want to watch. I'll just do what i normally do in this situation - close my eyes *&* look away. "

And I did.

Postscript - Fi is alive, but didn't learn anything. Maybe life lessons that feature short-term memory loss aren't the way to go?


JodyTheBad said...

Connor, at 7, has still not learned to watch where he's walking at a playground, in spite of having been thrown off his feet more than once by being hit by an enthusiastic user of the swings.

I hope Fi is smarter. =)

Tony Vila said...

The best is when they walk over by the swings. POW!