Mom Chronicles: Hints from the road

The Park Next Door

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Chloe and I spend many of our free mornings heading for some easy playtime outside.  Sometimes, just leaving your house is an act of adventure, alright?  Trying to accomplish several things at once, like every stay-at-home parent, I enjoyed incorporating the neighborhood parks into our routine.  Chloe loves our Instep jogging stroller, and while I don't love running behind a 28-pounder on wheels for very long, I at least get in a mini-workout, she gets playtime, and we both get our needed fresh air.

We joke about our Chandler parks most of the time.  South Chandler's development is so much newer than other parts of Phoenix that there are no big trees in most of our neighborhoods and parks.  Being in the desert means definitely no water features.  What's left...there is either a smattering of grass and sand or (ugh) desert landscaping.  Just not the kind of "park" you have in mind, right?  There's one right in our neighborhood that the Home Owners Association maintains, referred to as a "tot-lot".  It's nothing more than a sandbox with a small climbing structure and 4 slides.  The teenagers use it to sneak cigarettes (and maybe other risky behaviors) so you never know what you'll find at that one.  A better park- the one I take the jogging stroller to- is down a half mile or so.  It has more grass, even some practice fields, a full-fledged play structure and it even has swings.

But, joking aside, the park provides a convenient and free place to go have some outdoor playtime.  And I'm always amazed at the different interactions you can witness at the park.  The other day I noticed a big family- definitely 5 kids under the age of about 7- all at the park with the mom and their family dog.  What a handful!  The kids loved running around, though, and the oldest child took to "mothering" all the little toddlers at the park, like Chloe.  Chloe isn't really a follower yet when it comes to social interactions, but a boy about a year older than Chloe was very interested in this new older friend who was helping all the kids.  Watching them all, I heard the little boy say, "Hey, why are you older than me?"

Just as I was thinking, 'there's no answer to this question.  What a silly question- where do 3 year olds come up with this stuff?' the little girl furrowed her eyebrows like a teacher and went, "cause I got born before you.  That's why I'm older."  And the two thoughts that came to my head then were...'hey that actually made sense,' and 'why can't adults have more patience to answer little kids' questions.'

So, don't knock your community park.  There are pearls of wisdom there just waiting to be revealed.  Out of the mouths of babes, right?  And, if nothing else, bring a magazine or throw on the running shoes and you can have 15 minutes to yourself while you're at it.  Enjoy your fall weather and head to the park to play!


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