Playground Time

I know that Jesus never appreciates a bragger, but let me just throw this out there:


All of it.  At the same time.  Our hampers for dirty clothes hold nothing but echos.  Basically, I feel like the very best version of myself, after this accomplishment today.

And the other thing?

Well, PRACTICE or not, this little two-week session of kindergarten fun from 8:00 AM to noon is wearing my little boy PLUM DADGUM, ALL-THE-WAY OUT.  Add swimming lessons to it and grocery-fetching and summer movie matinees, along with a little park play sprinkled on the top for seasoning, and we have basically had all the ingredients for a perfect meltdown storm each night.

On Monday evening, Thing 2 noticed that I had broiled tomatoes along with some chicken and sausages and asparagus, and he had to throw himself to the floor, where he cried ENORMOUS, EXHAUSTED TEARS and proclaimed his utter dislike of ALL THINGS TOMATO for nearly ten minutes.  Never you mind that I had already prepared HIS dinner plate, which was already sitting at his spot at the dining room table, completely devoid of roasted tomatoes.

Last night, he laid on our bedroom floor, sobbing out his utter hatred for Legos, even though he really loves Legos, every bit as much as he loves pink suckers.  In between his howling sobs, I finally got him to tell me that he couldn’t find “the long gray piece that goes on the back of my Lego car.”  It was lost.  Life as Thing 2 knew it was over, because the car would not be complete without that long gray piece, acting as a spoiler.

That long gray piece was in Thing 2’s hand.  It had been in his right hand the entire time.  He was clutching it with a death grip and wailing about how he couldn’t find it.  Ultimately, this makes me feel better about the state of my own elderly brain, when I spent ten minutes searching for my sunglasses, which were perched on top of my head.

There just ain’t no tired like the first few weeks of Kindergarten tired.

But… last weekend… before we started wearing our little boy out by sending him to a practice session of kindergarten, where he would learn all the joys of recess… we met a little friend of his from church at the park.


It has absolutely everything to do with the fact that five-year-old Evie is THE ONLY CHILD we have ever come across who sleeps worse than Thing 2 does.  Having the worst sleeper in the entire history of the world is not a contest that any mama wants to win, but here we are:  Evie’s mother has taken home the gold-plated, Grand Champion trophy, and Hubs and I are standing there, clutching the silver tower of second place.

Please pray for our families, as the Spirit leads you.  Small children who are rotten sleepers were never on our lists of goals, when it came to parenting.

So… treating our children to some time to play together at the park last weekend was scheduled, and neither of them realized that the mission really had a secret title:  OPERATION WEAR THEM OUT, UNTIL THEY CAN NO LONGER FORM COHERENT SENTENCES, SO THEY’LL SLEEP PAST 4:30 IN THE MORNING.

I’m happy to report…

… that the missions were pure successes.

Our first playground adventure of the weekend involved a lot of monkey bar work.  I clapped like a happy lunatic for Thing 2, as he worked his way back and forth between the bars, over and over.  He has mastered the monkey bars and his palms bear the blisters to prove it.  He also enjoys an audience while he practices his American Ninja Warrior skills that is willing to offer up the loud applause.  His only regret is that there’s no gas-powered cannon to shoot T-shirts out of, when he reaches the last bar, like the high school football players get to celebrate touchdowns with.

He also did a little zip-lining.

This playground attraction is brilliant, because it is PURE FUN.  And after a small boy rides the zip-line…

… he must grab it… and pull it clear back to the starting platform.

This means that if he’d like to ride it one thousand times (And believe me!  Thing 2 wishes to ride it exactly that much!), then he must haul it back that amount of times, too.

Evie showed up at the park and wanted to skip the zip-line entirely.  Thing 2 didn’t understand her zip-line avoidance at all, because IT’S A ZIP-LINE, EVIE!  IT’S BASICALLY LIKE THE CARNIVAL!  And then we suspect that Evie whispered into Thing 2’s ear, “It’s also exhausting, because you have to pull that rope back so many times.  Do you WANT to wear yourself out and fall asleep easily tonight?”

And that’s when Thing 2 decided he was going to go on strike against his favorite piece of playground equipment in the history of the world, too.

They both decided to pile into THE SPINNING THING.

What is this piece even called?  No one knows, so we all call it THE SPINNING THING, because it spins.  Clearly, we are all destined to be Nobel Prize winners, with our shocking levels of intelligence.

I’m pretty sure that at one point Evie yelled, “Thing 2!  Get INSIDE the spinning thing!  You’re making me nervous with how you keep hanging off of it!  Don’t you see that it’s almost like the merry-go-rounds from the 1970s, that safety panels all across America have had taken OUT of parks?  You’re going to kill yourself dead!”

We heard Thing 2 holler back, “Your concern over my safety touches my heart, Evie!  But listen!  The West wasn’t won by boys who stayed inside the wagons!  It’s more fun hanging off the side while we spin at the speed of light.  Plus, I kind of enjoy that look on my mom’s face, where she’s trying to decide whether her heart is stopping from fright or whether she’ll survive my childhood!”

Eventually, Evie decided that she might actually throw up, if she stayed on the spinning thing any longer, while Thing 2 propelled it faster than a NASCAR on a straight-of-way.  She had to get off and let her equilibrium settle a touch.

Those two kids gave the playground everything they had.

They played for three entire hours, until they were filthy and covered in sweat and dirt.  Their shoes were filled with bark chips, while their hearts were filled with joy.

They both slept like normal children that night, so the mamas decided to shoot for Park Time, Round Two, in a secret hope of repeating the good night’s rest for everyone involved.

Bikes were brought to the playground the next day, and those two rapscallions each rode eighty-four miles, around and around the sidewalks, until Thing 2 lost his biking privileges for riding into the parking lot, unattended, one too many times.

His arguments of BUT, MA!  THE WEST WASN’T WON BY BOYS WHO CIRCLED THE SIDEWALKS THE WHOLE TIME fell on his mother’s deaf ears, and the bike was parked.

Hanging off the spinning thing is one thing… but bicycling like a rock fired from a slingshot, into a parking lot where REAL CARS TEND TO DRIVE, is another thing completely.

Don’t worry.

He recovered from the consequence of losing his bike for a while.  He went back to the zip-line and rode it until his biceps burned with all the strength it took to pull that heavy rope and seat back to the launching platform.

And then we went home.

And then the children slept all night long.

And that’s how we chalked last weekend up as a total Parenting Victory.  It felt almost as good as my Laundry Victory feels today, and ALL THE SLEEPING is continuing, because PRACTICE KINDERGARTEN IS TOUGHER THAN THREE HOURS AT THE PARK!



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