parenting: playgrounds

Fuss likes playgrounds and parks, they're free, so that's where we spend most of our outdoors time.
And when you walk out the front door at the tail end of February only to spin right back around to avail yourself of more weather appropriate attire, namely shorts and sandals, it's an obvious destination.

Today we were rolling with Meek, who curled up in the sun with Joyce Carol Oates

(why is she wearing a scarf when it's 75 degrees?)

while we rampaged around

(Fuss climbing a slide that's subject to a safety recall) 

("Dada, I'm a SCARECROW!")

and finally came to rest

While we were roaming Meek made the acquaintance of a familiar playground character, the disengaged, annoyed parent.  I go to run around and play with Fuss, and most parents you meet will be there to do stuff with their kids.  But parents who think their job is done once they pull into the parking lot are common- they plop down on the steps or a bench and start playing with their phones.  

Up to a point I'm sympathetic- kids are hard, and you have to grab your down time where you find it.  
But these sorts are also prone to just flat out ignore their kids, or act all put upon when their child makes a plea for attention.

Meek's specimen was a bench sitter, playing a game on his phone, ignoring pleas for attention or snarling at his kid to get on with it so he could get back to his current round of Angry Birds, or whatever.

I have my problems with Fuss- there are times when I just can't keep playing the same game, or watching him do something for the 800th time, or listen to him repeat the same nonsense syllable for fifteen minutes straight.    But, I always make the effort.  I may not be able to stick with whatever's going on as long as he's willing to, but I check in long enough to get the gist. 

Because the older Fuss gets, the clearer it becomes to me that hippy troubadour Harry Chapin's  sap-tacular ode to crappy dada-ing  is a window to a dismal future every bit as grim as the one opened by Dickins' Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. 

Kids aren't kids that long.
To me, it doesn't seem that long ago I was watching Uncle Tim wipe meconium off Cousin Fiend's dainty doll feet hours after she was born- now she can read and write, draws better than I ever could and wears a training bra.

You have to space out on some of it to stay sane, oh yes.
But you best make sure that when you check out it is for your sanity, or something equally important, and not because you've really gotta three star this one level, or text a friend, or check Facebook for the tenth time in the last 30 minutes.

Kids aren't like writing a paper, where you can fuck off until right before the deadline, crap it out real fast and be fine.  

It's sad that understanding something that obvious and basic is pretty much all it takes to make me a "good dad". 

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