My wife started coming down with something a few days ago and I could see where the weekend was headed. Somewhere not fun. We were all still a little burned out and sleep deprived from our recent trip to tropical Ohio, so none of us was firing on all cylinders. Except the Little Dude. Somehow he always has energy. Even when he’s tired, instead of running around, he rolls around on the floor, bed, patio or any other flat surface he can find. That way he can still move around and rest at the same time.
So while the Dudette was down for the count, I volunteered to take BC to the park on Saturday so he could expend some energy. I had no idea what I was in store for. I should have checked the weather forecast before leaving the house which would have warned me of possible hurricane force winds. At least it was sunny out, so when my hat blew off I could chase it and easily locate it.
Being a Dude at the park with a toddler always draws looks from the women and couples present. And not the types of looks the guy gets in the movies when he’s Matthew McConaughey and the woman is Julia Roberts. It’s more like women who look like Rosie O’Donnell, yet they look at me like I’m Steve Buscemi.
Yes, he’s my kid and to many people it’s pretty apparent. Yet I get a judgmental look and vibe when I take him to the park, as though I’m there to pull a Jerry Sandusky or something. The park is supposed to be an open place for kids to run around and have a good time. If I wanted to be judged, I’d go to a nightclub in Hollywood. Is nightclub even still the right word? I’m much more familiar with Indoor Play Places and Babies R Us than hip bars anymore.
Anyway, I was pushing BC on the swing and didn’t have to do a lot of work. The wind was whipping fast so he was getting a lot of movement and momentum. It was like he was a human Plinko chip going side to side, up and down. Some kids might be scared, but not my 2-year old tough guy. He was giggling ecstatically and saying “Ahh-gain!”
|Geodesic Dome from my childhood. Looks pretty lame now.|
After a few minutes, I realized I was the one getting the exercise so I removed him from the swing and we ran over to the toddler playground. There are bridges, tunnels, ladders, slides and all kinds of fun stuff for those less than 4 feet tall. When I was a kid we’d go a nearby school’s playground and climb on the jungle gym. In retrospect the most fun game was probably Tetanus Dodge, but we were too young to know it at the time.
When I’m at the park, I keep a pretty good eye on my kid at all times. It seems like some parents drop their kids off, go to Starbucks for an hour, then come back and pick them up. Usually while the parents are gone the unsupervised kids proceed to sneeze on all of the handrails and cough on the grip part of the swings. It’s probably not a coincidence that one of us usually gets sick after going to the playground, so now I usually keep a tub of Purell handy while we are there. Not for cleansing, but rather to throw at the cars of these negligent idiot parents.
Going to a park in Los Angeles is like a Social Studies class. You regularly hear people speaking Spanish, French, Russian, Hebrew, Farsi & sometimes even English. I guess we are kind of boring in comparison. That being said, BC loves the park and we’ll continue to go as he finds something new to play with each time. And maybe sometime, when everything works out just right, he’ll be more tired than I am when we leave.