On the surface the playground is what it seems- a dynamic place where child interaction opportunities are many and imagination is often in full swing. Under the surface however the parents often have their own kind of club going on. Here is a sample of the conversation from our park visit this morning.
Dad #1: “Oh yeah, I have 4 kids but the only one you have to really watch is this one here. He’ll drop a load on the carpet in 2 seconds flat. Just let me tell you about yesterday! I found him in the bathroom rinsing his dirty underwear in the toilet. He’d obviously spent some time dunking the undies in the water and then pulling them out again so the whole side of the toilet was just a mess by the time I found him and then……”
Me: “Really? That’s horrible! And you had 3 other kids to watch at the same time?”
Dad #1: “That’s right. Well the little one is only 2 weeks old so she’s with my wife all the time. I’ve been on leave for 2 weeks and I’ve already lost 10 pounds! Can’t afford to lose any more or I’ll disappear. I see now how my wife was able to lose all her baby weight so fast It was chasing those other kids that did it!”
Mom #1: “Well that must have been nice. My baby weight is still hanging on and it has been 2 years- I just want my body back!” (My daughter stands on the periphery of the parent circle while blatantly moving her bowels. He eyes water. Her face turns red.)
Mom #2: “Can you believe that my daughter won’t eat any vegetables that don’t come in one of those squeeze pouches? What do I do about that? I’ve tried everything.” (A kid runs by with their laces undone. Mom #1 attends to it.)
Me: “My daughter refuses to use the potty. She held it for 15 hours yesterday. Granted she was asleep a lot of that time.” (Mom #2’s kid runs by eating what looks like a donut.)
Mom #3: “If I have to read another Sandra Boynton book I’m going to go insane. My son just wants to read them over and over again. They’re hypnotic I tell you! He can’t sit through a picture book to save his life.” (Mom #3’s kid starts growling at the other children.)
And to think I had no idea this club existed before I became a member. God, it’s nice to be included.