Monday, October 7th, 2013
2 years, 10 months.
Saturday morning after we watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the 23rd time, I’ll mention more about that later, Mommy and I decided it was time for you, I mean, our family, to burn off some extra energy at Granny White Park- or as you call it, “The Dinosaur Park.”
(It has like three different plastic dinosaurs you can climb on.)
I thought we were going to the playground to actually play, but once we got there, all your jittery energy strangely transformed you into a sluggish state of wonder.
You decided you wanted to “people watch” instead.
And I have to admit- there was a lot to see. Nearby, there was a birthday party going on in which all the little boys were dressed up in superhero costumes.
“Daddy, there’s two Spidermans?” you asked.
You didn’t want to go down the slide, or crawl through the tunnel, or even try out the cool pirate ship teeter-totter.
However, you were willing to let Mommy and me push you on the swing, which is the most passive activity to do at the park; other than sitting on the plastic dinosaurs and watching the other kids have fun.
Seriously, you looked so sad.
I get it that you may have just been a little bit intimidated by all the other kids you didn’t know.
Or maybe that, like me sometimes, you just felt like being philosophical and introspective.
But after about 12 minutes of you being the swing, I myself was getting antsy.
So with the superheros now playing behind you where you couldn’t see them anymore, I suggested we move around a bit- in the form of a family walk.
After about five steps, you said it:
“Mommy! Hold me!”
You clearly weren’t too tired to walk. The whole point in us being there was for you to burn off all the extra energy you had back at the house.
So I grabbed you and ran far into the vacant soccer field, therefore forcing you to have to run; either because I was chasing you or you were chasing me.
For about a minute.
Then you made your way to Mommy again and it was back to sitting in the swing. And sitting on the dinosaurs.
Oh well, I tried.
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Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
Because of my legitimate fear of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, I am trying to counteract the numbness in my left shoulder, wrist, and hand by working those muscles on a daily basis.
Therefore, last week I started a daily habit of stopping by the playground near my office to do pull-ups.
I imagine it’s quite a random sight at 1:15 every afternoon in Aspen Grove Park to see some random guy wheel in on his mountain bike, set down his book bag and helmet, do several pull-ups on the playground, then speed off into the distance.
Predictably, there are always a few moms with their young kids already there when I arrive.
My most awkward encounter so far happened about a week ago.
There was a grandmother with her daughter- a mom who was about my age, accompanied by her own daughter who was about your age.
In the non-creepiest way I knew how, I approached the 7 foot high monkey bars. Immediately, the three of them all looked up at me, seemingly concerned.
I felt the need to explain:
“Hi, I work in one of the offices nearby. I come here everyday now to do my pull-ups because I type all day on a computer, and this helps me.”
The grandmother responded:
“Well, thank you for explaining that…”. The tone and look on her face was completely serious. She meant what she was saying.
From that point, she began rationalizing out loud, trying to convince herself as well as her grown daughter, that I was there basically to “blow off steam” from the stress of working in an office.
That wasn’t the case at all. My job doesn’t stress me out at all. I love my job.
However, I felt it to be in my best interest to leave immediately, without trying to further justify my existence. So I did.
I’m too cheap to pay for a gym membership; not to mention, I’d rather be outside anyway, breathing fresh air and feeling the sunlight on my skin. So the combination of mountain biking and doing pull-ups on the playground is like a free gym membership to me.
Sure, it looks weird to onlookers, but the only rule I saw on the park sign was against people smoking there- not against adults showing up without a child.
For me, what this story reveals is that each parent has certain things they see as a red flag; some possible threat to their child’s safety and well-being. I know I’ve got mine. (And I’ve learned not to mention them on the Internet anymore!)
I’m just a harmless dad of a 2 and a half year-old son who is using the city park for a minute or two as part of his daily exercise routine. But that’s not how it looks to everybody. To some, I am the childless creepy guy in the park.
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