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Lessons From the Park on Saturday

Posted 09-02-2011 at 06:08 PM by TeachingKids

After a few hours of shopping and errands, the beautiful temperatures and mild breeze beckoned us to stop off at a local park. My husband followed my 5-year-old daughter, who raced for the playground. I headed for a trail, along with my 3-month-old son and a jogging-style stroller. (Side note- Iím not actually planning to jog with this, because jogging is more of a torture for me, and I avoid it if at all possible. The ďjoggingĒ stroller is much easier to push and walk behind when you are above-average in height-- no more hunching-over-to-reach and kicking-the-contraption-with-every-step moves.)

As I was saying, I was off to the trails with my newest side-kick and a really great stroller for an afternoon of new insightsÖ

1. Little League practice is pretty chaotic. I donít know that any of the young boys actually made contact between a ball and bat or even caught a ball, but they had a great time chasing after the balls and cheering for each other. When I was a kid, I avoided trying out for baseball or softball because I lacked both the hitting and catching abilities. Now, I am finding that neither skill was really necessary to coming to practice and having a great time being silly on a field. The parents of this group didnít seem to upset over the lack of skills their offspring demonstrated, as they were (a)sharing casserole recipes, (b)playing frisbee with the black lab one family brought along, (c)entertaining a baby sister who has just learned to walk, or (d)playing the latest smart phone app.

2. The park is a good place to go if you need some space from a moody teenage daughter attached to an iPod.

3. A little-bitty mop-looking dog makes a great companion for the friendly widower who was also out for a stroll.

4. The park is a great place for two teenagers to go for a free date.

5. The park makes a great backdrop for family photos. Families also like to dress alike for family photos. Going barefoot in family photos is also quite popular.

6. Even if you have not visited the park in 18 months, the local ducks still remember that you brought crackers on your last visit and expect you to feed them.

7. The heron in the pond is just as beautiful and graceful as I rememberedÖ

8. Little league teams practiced with more tennis balls than baseballs. I didnít know that fact, but it makes sense. If I have to be in the way of a fast moving ball, Iíd rather be clobbered by a tennis ball than a baseball. Seems to me there would be less bruising and stingingÖ

9. The park is a great place for a little girl to celebrate her second birthday with her parents and a new pink tricycle. Riding the tricycle is not necessary to the festivities, especially if you fall off before you figure out the pedals. Walking alongside the tricycle while Daddy pushes also works fine. Mommy will take pictures anyway.

10. Friendly widowers like to talk, and their mop-dogs like to check out strollers.

11. Teenagers in love donít realize that anyone else is in the park until friendly widowers stop to chat.

12. If you outpace the ducks expecting to be fed, they will simply swim across the pond and ambush you as you reach the other side.

13. Three-month-old babies love to ride in strollers. They also like holding their face towards the breeze, very much like dogs and car windows.

14. iPods donít stay charged forever

15. The little league team will practice again next Monday. It is still undecided whether they will get cookies with bottled water or pretzels with sports drink for their snack.

16. A great way to celebrate the purchase of a new refrigerator is to slide down a grassy hill on the empty box with your grandkids. There are both correct and incorrect ways to slide down a hill on a box. While both seem fun and may appear to be the same to the casual onlooker, Grandpa is an expert and will let you know when you didnít slide down correctly. Grandma doesnít know the difference between the correct and incorrect methods.

17. My five-year-old can finally pump her legs and keep a swing in motion on her own. We have much to celebrate in our family!

18. Time outside at the park can mellow out a moody teenage daughter.

19. Even if there are rules about cleaning up after dogs in the park, you may step on something unpleasant if you are barefoot for family photos. This event will pretty much end a photo session.

20. Three laps around the park is one mile.

21. The playground is a great place to take your kids when you need to make a call without being interrupted.

22. The park is a great place for an elderly couple to go for a free date.

23. Walking on a trail can get a moody teenager to SMILE at her mom.

24. Five-year-olds will be disappointed when they realize they didnít bring stale bread for the ducks. Iíve not determined if the ducks or my daughter were more upset by this fact.

25. Riding in strollers in the park even gets sleeping babies to smile.

26. Park benches are great places to visit with your best friend.

27. An independent five-year-old who LOVES the playground will have a meltdown when Daddy doesnít push her on the swing.

28. Park benches are great places to visit with your husband.

29. On the playground, sometimes your new friend has to leave with her family. Fortunately, there are usually more unknown friends on their way to meet you for the first time. When you are five, almost everyone who comes to the playground is a new friend.

30. Five-year-olds think little-bitty mop-looking dogs are really cute, but are sometimes too scared to pet them.

31. The park is a great place for a three-month-old to enjoy a bottle and chill out with Mom and Dad.

32. Friendly widowers and their mop-dog companions are patient with five-year-olds who secretly want to pet the puppies they are scared of.

33. Five-year-olds quickly forget recent meltdowns and return to play.

34. When you call your childís name on a playground, at least one other child will respond as they have the same name. Other mothers may get concerned when an unknown adult calls her childís name.

35. Best friends make good husbands.

36. The park is a great place for a thirty-something couple (and their five-year-old and three-month-old offspring) to go for a free date.
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