This past Friday was absolutely gorgeous! I mean, October 30th and 78 degrees!?! I had the windows open and the back door open, too, but I still wanted to get out into that beautiful fall weather. Luckily, it was my week to have our car (being a stay at home mom in a single car family can be difficult sometimes)! I was able to throw our junk in the car (take off our jackets, "Why on earth did we even bring those?") and set off for the closest park, dubbed "The Helicopter Park". It is a Veteran's park, and has a huge helicopter on one corner of the ground. Aside from the fact that the park doesn't have much shade, I like it fairly well.
Erm...well....except for all the things I hate about the park. I don't like to be so negative about enjoying a day at the park, but I have some serious public park pet peeves.
1. Every public park should have great shade. It doesn't matter quite as much in the fall, I guess. But in the summer, that park is horrid! There is no escape from the blistering heat. It is almost so bad that I don't even want to go in the summer. Plus, what kid wants to scorch his bum just by riding down a slide while wearing shorts!?
2a. Smokers. Gah!!!! I dislike smokers at my public park more than anything! I can't even begin to tell you. Smoking in general is one of my biggest pet peeves, even outside of public parks. I am one of those infernally rude people who hack and cough loudly when they walk by smokers. I know, it is horrible...but so is blowing your nasty smoke into my clean and healthy lungs! This hate of smoking is compounded ten fold when it is at a park around kids. Especially my kid. ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS A WINDY DAY AND YOU ARE LETTING YOUR SMOKE BLOW INTO THE WHOLE STINKIN' PLAY GROUND!!!! I hate it. Hate it. HATE IT! It takes every ounce of my energy to not go up to the smoker, knock their cigarette out of their hands and crush is with a super stomp and twirl. Ohio has a law against smoking within 50 feet of any public building (not that it is ever enforced..stupid cheap law that should be wonderful)...don't you think that it should be illegal to smoke at a park where children are, too?
2b. Cigarette butts. Like smoking at parks isn't enough, many smokers then choose to litter the stubs of their nasty addiction among the wood chips of the play ground. My curious 18 month old can then pick up the incredibly disturbing piece of trash, while I frantically try to get him to drop it before it makes it to his mouth and pull out wipes from the diaper bag. Lovely.
3. Mothers (or grandmothers) that are overprotective of MY kid, even though I am two feet away. My mother-in-law, bless her ever-loving heart, would probably fall into this category. (This weekend, at trick or treating, she offered a tissue to a couple of young, red nosed kids.) It may seem like a kind and loving thing to do, to be an attentive mother to a child that isn't yours. BUT...it definitely has a way of making the real mother feel like she is failing at her calling in life. Bug is very adventurous, and will climb on the playground and slide down slides by himself. I stand close by all the time. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop other well meaning ladies from "helping".
4. Unfenced pond with a steep slope. Toddlers can run. Fast. But they can't stop very easily, especially if they are running down an incline. If my legs were any shorter, I would be jumping into the pond to rescue Bug, because he is almost faster than I am. Sure, a duck pond looks nice (just ignore all the crap on the ground). The only problem is the sign that says to not feed the water fowl (what fun is that?)....the steep slope with lots of rocks...the lack of fence...the unsanitary ground conditions...the potential drowning hazard. Maybe they should just save some money on the blue dye and fill in the pond with dirt.
5. Busy parking lot that is really close to the play ground. Remember how I said Bug is almost faster than I am? Well, he is. And it takes him about two seconds to run into the parking lot of our busy park....
...When I finally reach him, I figure it is about time to go home.