Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday at the Park With Me

Today is a cool, miraculously not humid day in South Florida and my daughter is on Spring Break which means that I am going to spend the entire day at the park drinking enough coffee to give myself cardiac arrhythmia by dinner time. I'm just warning you. I may need an ablation tonight.

Because there is no greater joy for me at this moment in my life than sitting on a bench watching children play while sipping my coffee and for once, not being hot. I know the rest of you all are probably scratching your heads right now, but let me explain. I live in South Florida. It's the tropics. We have two seasons here: hurricane and tourist. So when we have these unexpected cool days all the locals rejoice and run outside cupping hot coffee in shivering hands while wearing sweaters, scarves, Uggs and shorts and yes, it's 65 degrees, but to us, that's effing freezing. We may get hypothermia. Those tourists romping in the ocean? Insane Minnesotans.

But I digress. The park. I love going to the park because my daughter will find a wolf pack of children to join and run her ass off for as long as I will let her, meaning that she will completely wear herself out which means that she will go to bed like a normal human being tonight which then means that I will get to watch TV which actually means that when she goes to bed I will probably just get to go to bed earlier than usual. It's all good.

The funny thing is that I always imagine these wonderfully elaborate scenarios in which my daughter goes to bed early and I get to do ALL KINDS OF THINGS. I picture myself catching up on seasons of all those cool show everyone's talking about on Netflix, Calgon taking me away, mopping my floors, finally putting the laundry away, reading, finishing my second memoir, listening to podcasts, doing a yoga video. I never do shit. I usually just turn the dishwasher on and end up in bed messing with my phone and it feels like a damned vacation. 

So there I was at the day's first installment of the park this morning after breakfast (we are now home for lunch and nap and a coffee refill before we will head back out to a different park to meet some friends). I was basking in the sun, truly loving life, relaxing and then my sister, who was also there with her daughter, decides to get on the swings.

God help us.

I used to be able to swing for hours. Well into my teen years I was a champ on the swings. I loved swinging. Now? Not so much.

I'm truly getting old and it's disheartening. Nowadays, I need to take a freaking Dramamine before getting on a swing. After I wedge my ass into the seat and kick off, swinging about 2 feet in either direction, I'm about ready to hurl. It's pitiful. I'm pretty sure that big pirate ship ride that they always have at amusement parks would likely kill me. I'd be puking before it even started rocking. I'd be like "Nooooo, the motion of the people getting in their seats is too much for me!!! BLEECCCCHHHH."

And I don't think I need to say that my Gravitron days are long over too.

My daughter on the other hand could spend a good 75 percent of her life in a swing. She loves swinging but she's 3 1/2 and hasn't quite managed the concept of pumping her legs, which means that as soon as I get comfortable on my bench I hear:

"MOOOMMMMMYYYYY!!! Can you push me on the swing???"

That also means that I have to put her in the swing and for some reason that always proves cumbersome. I swear, from all the hoisting into the swing and pushing the swing that I do, I don't know why my arms aren't totally ripped. They really should be.

This is very un-politically correct of me to admit, but I really am lazy and don't like pushing the swing. It's boring. Of course, I stop whatever I'm doing and push her. Of course I do that, but I don't really enjoy it.

For one thing, I haven't figured out how to coordinate drinking coffee and pushing the swing at the same time so I end up trying to push the coffee and sipping the swing and naturally I splash coffee from one end of myself to the other.

And like I said, it's boring, which sounds mean but my God, 15 minutes of the same repetitive motion standing in one place listening to a dissonant chorus of off-key three year olds screaming some semblance of "Let It Go" at the top of their lungs is not particularly stimulating for me.

I usually start to want to mess with my phone. It starts off like an itch I can't scratch. I imagine this is how it feels to want a cigarette. But then I start this awful internal dialogue with myself about how I can't mess with the phone. I can't be that awful, awful mom who messes with her phone at the park. All the sanctimommies will look at me like I'm Satan's bride. They will say my daughter needs to be in foster care and ask why I even had her if all I want to do is look at facebook while I'm pushing my child. Jeez, I should be engaging her. I should be teaching her sight words while she swings, because if I don't, she may not get into Harvard, which means she will end up a stripper because those are the only two options in life, you know. You either go to Harvard or you end up a crack addicted stripper. So I sort of try to sneak messing with phone, but that doesn't work because I end up getting hit with the swing that I'm supposed to be pushing. It's a disaster.

My sister suggested that pushing the swing was a good way to get out frustration.

As in - 

PUSH! That's for waking me up at 3am wanting water and then changing your mind and not going back to sleep til 4:30am!!

Push! That's for the fit you threw because I gave you milk in the Rapunzel cup instead of the Cinderella cup!!

Don't freak out. I am only joking. I do not push my daughter on the swing with malice.

Truth of the matter is, I like taking her to the park and I'm glad I get the chance to do it, even if I'm too old to swing without barfing, even if I can't push the swing and drink coffee at the same time and even if when I'm at the park sometimes all I can think about is how much I want to mess with the phone.


Sarah Kaufman said...

Oh jeez, that's hysterical. Although I actually really like the idea of internally getting some aggression out. I mean, I wouldn't push my son's swing HARDER or anything. But I can totally relate to the screaming over the wrong cartoon cup (in my case, Lego Movie vs Starwars just happened last week).

Class Factotum said...

I think becoming a stripper is the more lucrative career option these days, as anthropology, women's studies, and art history companies don't seem to be making a lot of offers to new grads.

Ouiser said...

The trick is finding a really competitive mom friend who the kids all know is the BEST swing pusher. Then you get to just sit and yell encouraging things and wave at your precious child that you're not having to push.

luksky said...

I read once that a survey said that mothers get as much enjoyment out of playing with their kids as they do vacuuming the floors. I tend to agree....makes you wonder why we keep spreading our legs.

Anonymous said...

Sanctimommies...LOL I love that, you should copyright it.
I can't swing either, makes me sick. I used to love it, too.

carrie said...

Just finished your book after buying it for my kindle. Brava lady! I loved and am happy to hear you are writing another book. Thanks for sharing your life and writing in a very entertaining and engaging way!

mcgrimus said...

I used to make a workout out of it: Push swing, run around swingset, dodge swinger, repeat. Great fun for me. Oh, and my kids too.

Anonymous said...

And I think its perfectly OK if you are bored pushing a swing. Most of '70s feminism was about women finding out they didn't actually love every moment of being a mom/wife. Funny how things have swung backward, with competitive mommyism.
Take a vintage copy of The Feminine Mystique to the playground. That should p*ss off someone!

Kelly Pifer said...

Oh my frilling heck that was hilarious!! We just had our first decent day here in OH (that means it topped 50F so whip out the shorts and sunscreen) and hit the playground. I now choose which playground we go to based on the ratio of "baby swings" to regular swings and overall # of swings. My perfect park has 2 baby ones and 2 regular so there is no way both of my kiddos are scoring a regular one and (FINALLY!) they're both too big for the baby ones. You think figuring out the coffee thing is hard pushing one kid? Try two at once. Coffee perched precariously on loose stone, do a downward dart grab to snag a sip and you've got a 50/50 shot of taking a swing to the head. And if you dodge one b/c you see the shadow coming your way you're likely jumping right into the path of the other. I spent my time flip-flopping between wanting to mess with my phone and trying to design a better beer can helmet for the Dunkin' addicted. Stay strong!

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