taking the kids to the park

(Thanks for all the well wishes on my last post. I'm feeling much, much better.) 

This happened a few months back. August, actually…


I tell the kids that today, we are going on an adventure! We are going to a park that we've never been to!

My definition of adventure has changed over the years. 

Anyway, I've heard good things about this park. We go to a lot of parks. By "park" I mean a constructed city or suburban park with play structures and grass. I'm still searching for the perfect one. I can pretty much always point out all the things wrong with a park. I have a whole mental checklist of safety, fun, visibility, ratio of nice to mean kids, unattentive parents or nannies and cleanliness. I'm like an undercover park inspector. I guess this means I'm a little, tiny bit critical of parks. I hate them. 

So we arrive.  

Here is an aerial map:

I don't know who designed this park. But they should be fired.

I didn't even notice the poor design at first. So just ignore that part for now.

So we arrive. Oops, I already said this. Okay. We are at the park now.

The three of us walk to the play structures together and then:

They ditch me. And run in opposite directions.

The sheep herder in me awakens. I would hate to be a real sheep herder. The stress! I can't think of a more stressful job than having to keep track of moving, living things. Making sure they are safe and getting enough to eat and all that. Wait, was I just talking about sheep herding or parenting?  

I look back and forth "kid 1, kid 2, kid 1, kid 2" and then follow Crappy Baby because he is attempting to climb something metal and dangerous.

While he goes down the slide I search for Crappy Boy.

This is what I see:

I think I see him. Is that him? He keeps going behind that wall. Why would they put a wall between the play structures? Don't park designers know that parents would probably like to be able to see different sections of the park? Is it really that important to segregate the ages that you need a brick wall between the structures? Is that him? I think that is him. 

My mind rattles on like this for an entire three seconds. And I turn to check Crappy Baby:

And I don't see him. Frantically, I scan the area.

And I see him:

Toddling right towards the edge of cement. That drops off like a mini-cliff into the pond. 

I run! 

And I barely catch him before he steps right in.

My heart pounding, I'm filled with that nauseating combo of adrenaline and relief. I collapse onto the cement for a moment with one arm hooked around him. 

Why would they put the toddler play structure right next to a cement drop off into the pond? Don't park designers know how dangerous this is? How many kids have actually fell in? How many near heart attacks of parents has this caused? 

My mind rattles on like this for an entire three seconds. And then I remember that I have another child to herd.

I look. 

But this is all I see:

Thanks to that idiot wall I can't even see the bigger kids play structure.

I don't have time for another three second mental rant about park design.

Instead, I pick up Crappy Baby to go look for Crappy Boy:

And he doesn't like that. 

We get to the bigger kids play structure and I can't find him. I can't find him anywhere.


I circle the slides and climbing thing and I can't find him. My heart pounds. I get that panic feeling of the bottom of my stomach falling out. I feel cold and shakey.

Then I see him:

He is underneath some stairs. 

He says he is hiding.

I'm in full protective angry mama bear mode. Who is he needing to hide from? I'm ready to fight! What nose picker is being mean to my kid? I will hunt him down. And then I will look at him. Sternly.   

But it isn't what I thought. He says he is hiding from me and says we are playing hide-and-seek.

Which I didn't know. Because he didn't tell me. 

So I remind him that he has to tell the other person that he wants to play hide-and-seek. 

He listens and promises that he'll tell me next time he is hiding.

Crappy Baby is getting squirmy again so I set him down.  

Crappy Boy tells me he is going to hide again and runs one way. 

And Crappy Baby simply says "water" and runs the other way. Towards the pond. 

Exasperated, I yell "wait!" but they pretend to not hear me and keep going. 

But then I hear something.  

I'm saved! I'm saved by a bell. Several tinkling bells, actually.

The boys freeze. These tinkling bells are familiar. They chime a promise of happiness. 

Frozen happiness. 

Enter the ice cream truck, pulling into the parking lot. 

Yes, there have been times when an ice cream truck ruined a perfectly good day at the park. When I don't have cash. When I say no because they ate cookies for breakfast. Or whatever. 

But not today. Today, the ice cream truck saves a perfectly bad day at the park.

Sitting in the parked car, they enjoy their popsicles while I enjoy having them contained. 

Crappy Boy expresses how much fun he had:

He even asks if we can come to this particular park again.

Exhausted and slumped in my seat, I answer:

Or maybe I'll just give them popsicles. 




Disclaimer: My park hatred exludes nature parks where you can go hiking and see trees and deer and all that beautiful outdoorsy stuff. I love those! 

This entry was posted in anxiety, crappy pictures, food, parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

225 Responses to taking the kids to the park

  1. LOL Love this! Thanks for sharing! Would love to have you as a guest blogger some day on our site!

  2. Paula says:

    The people who design these things clearly don’t have kids. Or never went to the park with more than one kid. Thanks for the laugh.

  3. Heather says:

    This is the best post ever. I feel the exact same way about parks and like you I take the kids because they have fun but it is nothing but stress for me herding them.

  4. HAHA! You are sooo right! This is exactly how I feel.

  5. Jenny says:

    Awesome! This is why I started my blog! So moms could find out what the playground looks like before they get there! I have drug my toddler to over 60 parks since May. And all it has done is turned her into a dare-devil on the huge school-aged play structures!

    • samantha says:

      Do you mean you took your kids there

      • Lo says:

        She means drag. I dragged my kids there, by force.

        Dragged vs. drug
        In all main varieties of English, dragged is the standard past tense and past participle of the verb drag. Drug is a dialectal variant that appears in many areas of the U.S. Though drug is common in these areas and cannot be considered wrong, it might be seen as out of place in more formal writing, where the traditional dragged is always the safer choice.

  6. Oh my gosh so true. It’s so exhausting! Our 2 parks in town both have issues. They really need to consult more moms when they build parks!

  7. D.E.B. says:

    lol, I’m laughing my butt off over this! I have tears streaming down my face, thank you so much for the laughs! You’ve made my morning!

  8. Amber says:

    My favourite kind of parks are the ones with parents who use the park as a babysitter, and every child on the playground is swearing/hitting/pushing/pulling hair and the parents are sitting on a bench five hundred miles away from where they should be, chatting on the phone. YAY!

  9. Nicole says:

    Hehehe this is my exact park experience! EVERYTIME! I hate parks unless they are empty..

  10. Amber Dusick says:

    What a great resource!!! Any St. Louis moms go check it out!

  11. Melanie says:

    I hate parks where the stuff is spread out! Because there is no way both (or all) kids will want to be in the same area.

    And then there’s always another parent giving you the fish eye for not paying “proper” attention to one of your kids while you’re trying to keep the baby from plunging to his death.


  12. Holly says:

    I could not agree with you more regarding the endless search for the perfect park. They all suck, and the park closest to my house, within walking distance, is the suckiest, most dangerous, most broke-ass, sad-looking park of all time. When I was reading the part about the brick wall I could totally sympathize with you frustration. Who in their right mind would design that? Some evil parent-hater, probably.

  13. Gayle Cochrane says:

    Adorable. Love that you are the park inspector. I have to agree I have yet to find a well designed park. I only have the one, but still it is hard to keep up.

  14. Mercy says:

    A cement drop off and an unprotected pond next to a playground? Someone didn’t have their head on straight.
    I know the feeling of having to search for a kid at the park and having them run opposite directions at the same time. Sometimes the ice cream man can be an angel for stressed-out mommies.

  15. Rebecca says:

    Loved this one! We have a wall of death at one of our city parks too, except ours falls off into a parking lot/street. It is really great and safe. No, not really.

    Glad to hear you are on the mend!
    Keep up the great work!

  16. Amy G. says:

    I had the same sinking feeling at a big kid/small kid park this summer, so I can totally relate to the stress! 🙂 We moms need a clone…

  17. Julie says:

    This is so spot on and hilarious! Please write a book, I would buy it in an instant and give it to all my mommy friends.

  18. Awesome! Glad to hear that you are feeling better! Yeah it never ceases to amaze me the design of some of the parks that I have here as well!

  19. kerin says:

    Haha! This is precisely why I don’t take my kids anywhere! Just kidding… but seriously, we avoid playgrounds like the one you just described AND public pools. At the pool, there is no way to convince a 5 and 6 year old that they have to stay in the kiddie pool area with their 1-year-old brother. They sneak off to the semi-deep water repeatedly while I try to chase the toddler around while carrying the infant.

    Forget it… I bought a bigger pool for the house and survived the summer by inviting friends over to swim and play on our swingset. Note: this automatically recruits adult-helpers for keeping an eye on the youngest of the brood. Bonus!

  20. AngelaW says:

    I second this!

  21. Ashley Swango says:

    What about parks that put the benches as far away from the shady trees as possible? So the parents get to watch their kids while sitting in the blinding sun? (or just sit on the wet grass instead.) Or you are surprised to see the park landscaper taking a siesta under the bouncy bridge? (maybe that only happens in California…)

  22. AngelaW says:

    This couldn’t be more accurate. I think you must have video cameras following me around because this is exactly what it is like to go to the park with my two! The both go in different directions and I’m left sprinting between them and picking up the toddler who screams and doesn’t want to be picked up. Thanks for all the laughs today and so glad you are feeling better!

  23. Kelly Dyer says:

    I hate it when I finally find a good park with good play structures and it’s right next to the Unknown Dense Forest of Spirits and God Knows What Else.

  24. Kelli says:

    You forgot to add the broken vodka bottles… or is that just in the UK?

    • Rosa says:

      Oh! Broken bottles, used nedels, empty bags of some strange powder, USED contraceptive. I have to avoid THAT kind of park.

  25. AngelaW says:

    Our parks are like that too, just terrible!

  26. Heather says:

    I would love an empty park, I’ve never seen one empty except on rainy days around here.

  27. Kristen says:

    I am in love with the fact that when I do break down and take my kids to the local germ ridden park I don’t have to worry about my 8 yr old terrorizing another child. She just finds someone close to her age to chat up and follow around. My 4 yr old loooves the park and goes up and down the most dangerous of obstacles and has yet to break something. I stay close enough to him w/o stalking him. If I had to grab him I could. I just want them to play and be free for as long as my panic attack will allow me to last. 15 min. And then i’m bribing them with ice cream to leave. lol

  28. Heather says:

    Or maybe an assistant or even a sister wife!

  29. Laurelei says:

    This is why I avoided large playgrounds until my two (5 and 7, 17 months apart) were old enough to climb without looking like they were actively trying to kill themselves, and mostly wanted to go in the same direction anyway.

  30. Wanda says:

    This is awesome!

  31. Maramommy says:

    I hate parks too and I’m so relieved to hear someone else admit this! Thank you for the laughs today, I really needed it.

  32. Jessie says:

    I had that sinking feeling the last time we went to our neighborhood park and “lost” my three year old for a moment. He was just behind a slide but those two seconds felt like years! I can’t imagine what it would be like having two to keep an eye on, kudos for you for even taking them to a park. I loved this post, so glad you are feeling better!

  33. Heather says:

    I actually decide at which parks in my area that my kids can go barefoot in just in case there may be broken glass or needles. I know sounds bad but we live in the city, we are moving to the burbs soon.

  34. Lynn says:

    Do you live in Holly Springs, NC??? Other than a the little partitian between play areas (instead that have over/under beams that I can’t run and jump over gracefully in a hurry), they do have a lovely “death pond” and ever-so-inticing stream/creek leading up to it full of tree roots, dog poop and whatever else you don’t want your kids to trip in and onto. GREAT POST – you cracked me up!

  35. Kailey says:

    Yes, just go for the popsicles next time and skip the park! LMAO

  36. Heather says:

    You get to sit?!

  37. Rebekah says:

    And my husband wonders why I don’t take our two daughters to the park often and choose, instead, indoor play structures where they can play a little more safely.

  38. Amber Dusick says:

    Yes, I think that is my plan!

  39. WinnieBage says:

    Parks must be universally horrible because they are exactly like this here in Canada too! I can’t wait until the day they are at an age where I can just sit on a bench and read a book. I always thought going to the park would be relaxing. HAH!

  40. Jenny Q says:

    LOL….LOL…..that just made my day!! I just have 1 baby to wrangle, but even that causes near coronary failure. Glad you’re feeling better!

  41. Christine N. says:

    I know you’re in Southern California, but I’m not sure if you’re in Orange County. A blog I’ve used to scout parks is: http://www.funorangecountyparks.com/

    I rarely go to a park without another mom I know. 🙂

  42. wendy says:

    awesome. i hate going to the park too. i hate dealing with stupid parents and caregivers. i avoid it unless someone is with to provide back-up. another post that made me laugh. you’re funny.

  43. Pumpkinette says:

    Thanks for posting Amber – I was expecting you to take a longer break to recover! Glad to hear you’re feeling better……

    Seriously though a brick wall separating the play areas? What smart ass thought that was a good idea?

    Our local park is a two minute walk from our house so we visit a lot. Although it is not perfect (open gate to a busy road being the main one), both the big kids and little kids areas are adjoined and the duck pond is visible but far enough away not to be a hazard. My main pet peeve is the teenagers that hang around the play area smoking and hogging the swings.

  44. Cheryl P. says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with play parks. I love that it tires out my two year old. I hate that I’m exhausted after our visit. I’m usually following him around so he doesn’t fall or get in someone’s way, or making sure no one is picking on him, or making sure no one takes him. I like ones with fences so I know he can’t run off if I lose track of him.

  45. Nell says:

    I guess a lot of park designers don’t have kids. When my husband was a kid, the school playground had asphalt- and it still has asphalt to this day. A lot of chipped teeth in that town. And I went to a park once where the playground wood chips ended immediately at the parking lot. No grassy barrier between cars and kids.

  46. Joe says:

    Great post. BUT…..you let your kids have popsicles in the backseat? Man. My car would be a moat of sticky disgustingness if I did that.

  47. christine c says:

    I didn’t realize you live in LA but even your crappy drawing can’t disguise my most hated park! For some reason the one mommy group I (used to) meet up with always wanted to go to that park. Even before he could walk my 2-year-old wanted to jump into that duck poop infested sludge pool while all the other babies happily laid on their blankets in the shade.

  48. Stacy says:

    Oh me too!!!!! Please write a book!!!!

  49. Ana says:

    I bumped into a fellow Ma at the park the other day who told me she mostly took her daughter to the park on full-blown rainy days. She dressed her in wellies and an all-in-one rainsuit and let her go wild in a totally empty playground. GENIUS!

  50. Morgan W says:

    OMG this is so how i feel, our park is pretty much like that, the cliff of death, and the play structures for the little kids is right next to the cliff of death and the big kids structure us across the road…

  51. Sam says:

    Once a mother, always a mother – man-made parks are terrible and exhausting. Even when your own children are not in attendance, a mother must continually circle and search for “bad things.”

    The only thing worse than a mother at a park is a former lifeguard at a body of water. With or without her own children. Never a moment’s rest.

    I hate responsibility.

  52. Brenda says:

    Well you said you were “going on an adventure” and it sounds like that is just what happened! Glad you all survived.

  53. meganleiann says:

    No freakin’ kidding! Don’t even get me started on the swing trap! Why are the swings usually so far away from the other toys? Why do I have one kid that wants to be pushed for an hour and another who wants to climb on TOP of all the big toys? UGH!!!

  54. tamara says:

    I’m sorry you had such a bad day at the park, but if it makes you feel any better, you gave me a bad case of the giggles when I read about it. Your posts always brighten my day. Thank you! I hope you are back to your old self soon!

  55. Jess says:

    I have the same idea of adventure. Or we’ll go to a mall we’ve never been before to see the fountain.
    The playground we go to a bunch has a big structure that’s supposed to be for 4 and up (or something like that) and then four panels of things to play with (a steering wheel and a few other things) for 2-4. It seems laughable that anyone would expect a 2 year old to stay playing with four panels when they could be running all over the play structure with the bigger kids. (There’s also a panel of learning braille that’s facing outwards from the platform it encloses and I can barely reach it. Not that I’m expecting kids to sit and learn braille at the playground, but still…)

  56. Christie says:

    I’m a St. Louis mom! Cool, thanks! 🙂 I think the “idiot wall” is only helpful if you have a single toddler. It keeps them from seeing the side with all the giant children who are bound to knock them off of tall ladders to their demise in a pile of sand. But for more than one, that would really really suck.

  57. KC says:

    There are no trees at our parks! If there are they are very short so you get no shade from them. In Arizona any type of slide plus the sun means instant burns.

  58. Dee says:

    @Ana, I’m with you. Since we’re up at 6 anyway, we’ll get the kid fed, and whisk him to the most remote park in the next suburb at 8am when no one’s there and he has the full reign of the park. No trampling, no hitting, no near accidents, no tantrums. When people start to trickle in from their nice lazy Saturday mornings our kid is ready to go down for a nap. Incidentally, our latest find is a park with a great big pile of boulders leading up to a massively fun slide that you see in water parks. There’s a single rail on the side for those who need guidance but the most direct way involves rock climbing. Most people are probably ready for it when they’re about eight. or six.

  59. Adrienne says:

    Sounds like my trips to the park. they’ve gotten a lot better since My 2 year old started getting better balance and I don’t have to worry about him falling off of stuff. I can now let them play while I continuously circle “kid 1, kid 2, oh crap where’d kid one go? …. there he is. kid 2? oi where did HE go? …… crap where? … oh there he… NO BY THE SWINGS… GONNA GET KICKED!! saved it. phew! that was really close. Crap kid 1… where’s kid one? oh you want in the swing? ugh you’re so dang heavy how are you so heavy? hurry put your feet in. kid 1? where are you…. give kid 2 a giant push and walk away just enough to scan park at a different angle. oh there you are! push push, scan. push push scan. ” basically. we don’t stay long at the park!

  60. Ok. I only have one kid, and she isn’t mobile right now. You are scaring me. However, this does bring back memories of the time I had to substitute for a kindergarten music class, and the teacher had made no lesson plans. Also, I know crap about music. I had to bust into old camp songs way in the abyss of my mind. Then I just let them run around and scream until 3 o’clock and decided not to care about it.



  61. Jaclyn says:

    I love that there are piranha in the pond

  62. Amber Dusick says:

    Pretty sure if you could handle an entire class of 5-6 year olds running around you’ll do fine!

  63. Kristyn Gish says:

    I only have one and feel that way sometimes. Sometimes I wonder if people who design things for kids have ever been around kids. Popsicles and ice cream can solve almost anything in my opinion.

  64. Amber Dusick says:

    Ha ha, I wondered if any locals would recognize it!

  65. Amber Dusick says:

    And that is precisely why the backseat of my car IS a moat of sticky disgustingness. Desperate park evacuation measures were required.

  66. Amber Dusick says:

    I’ve seen parks like that too! It boggles my mind.

  67. Jen K says:

    The bit that gets me is that when hubby comes home and asks what we did that day? ..go to park, play etc. He thinks oh lovely! But… why are you so exhausted dear? Its hard work!!

  68. Amber Dusick says:

    They really are a great answer to almost any problem.

  69. bahahahaha, LOVE IT!! This is exactly why I NEVER go to parks now. I have 4 kids age 5 and under, parks are impossible with that many kids. You just do not have enough arms to contain them all. My kids have to settle for our lame wanna be jungle gym in our yard, at least until they are older and more are in school.

  70. Haha!! I SOOO relate to this!!! We have the coolest playground in the world about five miles from my house – it’s huge, all-wood, and built into the woods. Awesome! However, I hate going there because it’s impossible to keep up with both my 2YO and 4YO. Last time we went, my 2YO fell down the wobbly “earthquake steps” while I was waiting to help my 4YO down a fireman’s pole. His forehead looked like I had glued on a purple tennis ball for at least a week.

  71. Anastasia says:

    Ahahaha! No because they had cookies for breakfast … I love that you make me feel like not such a bad mom. Thanks! 😀 😀 😀

  72. Sunnyrai says:

    At the park we used to go to all the time, the only bench was directly behind the sign for the park. so if you actually had a second to sit down, you couldn’t see any of the playground. So stupid!

  73. Alex says:

    We have a decent park within a block of our house. It was a major criteria when we chose to buy the house actually.
    The local underage teenagers can only afford beer cans apparently cause we haven’t found too many broken vodka bottles and no needles. We have occasionally gone to the park with a plastic bag to pick up the empty cans 🙂
    My worry is that my 4 year old might try to escape from our fenced yard and go to the park by himself! It may just be one street to cross but he’s the kind of kid who doesn’t pay attention to the point where he runs into walls when he’s indoors. I don’t feel he’s ready to cross the street without holding hands with a grownup…

  74. Kathryn says:

    This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. They just put a park in my neighborhood and the “slide” is just two bars – nothing to sit on – apparently the kids have to wrap their legs around the bars? Parks everywhere have clearly been designed by policymakers who don’t have children. And what about shade for the baby swings? It’s never to be found…

  75. Kim says:

    YAY YOU’RE BACK!! So glad you are feeling better! I have this separated-play-structure dilemma all the time with a 3 and 5.5 year old. MANY times there are trees, or fences, or something blocking me from seeing one of the kids. We also have a nearby park that has water elements combined with giant square slabs of slippery granite for your children to climb on and slip off of (???) Your entire post was so unbelievable RELEVANT to my life. Thank you for taking time to make us all laugh today. Oh, and I love that the fish has teeth of course.

  76. kate says:

    i hate parks. we even have one in our neighborhood that is pretty nice – wood chips, giant climbing thingy with slides, no water, etc. and mostly empty! score! right? no hate. in the summer it’s hot and buggy and in the winter it’s cold and windy.
    i think you just convinced me to get a swing set in the back yard HAHA

  77. Di says:

    hahahahaha! “undercover park inspector”

  78. JenGuest says:

    I think this is by far the best Crappy Pictures yet. I may weep as it speaks so much truth. Especially about Crappy Baby almost being eaten alive by eels. Eeels!!! EEEEEEEELLLLLS! The horrid things.

  79. MamaBean says:

    I think the idiots of park design designed our NYC parks too. No natural or artificial shade, metal slides (!), black seats for swings, and big kid and little kid areas separated by a hand ball court (?).
    And why do they make the little kids play area like 4 feet off the ground? They don’t need to be that high people! They are little. 6 inches is an improvement.

    ps – I’m so addicted to your blog!

  80. Ashley says:

    Yes please write a book! That would be my go-to baby shower gift.

  81. MamaBean says:

    ps – I think most DOG parks are designed better than kids parks. Double gates so they don’t sneak out. Plenty of room to run and do any other business. Shade! And places for mamas (or owners) to sit.

    Come on now. Kid park people, please talk to dog park people.

  82. When my girls were small (they are 5 & 8 now) the park was Daddy’s job.I took them to kinder gym, playgroup, baby music but Daddy did the park thing while I stayed home. Daddy quickly had them trained NOT to tell Mummy about falling off the slide or hanging upside down from the climby things. They are still fully functional so he must have done an ok job and they still LOVE the park.(Our local park is called the Adventure Playground ie Death Trap City…apparently we breed daredevils in Australia…sigh!)

  83. Gretchen says:

    My youngest is almost five, so these kind of park trips are basically done, thank goodness! We are also lucky that the local grade school is right down the street and they have a really nice playground that is set up very well since teachers need to be able to watch the kids, too. I honestly had not realized how lucky we are until this description of what has to be the STUPIDEST park design I have ever heard of. Yay for Popsicles!

  84. Crystal says:

    Our park adventures include a five year old, twin three year olds and a soon to be one year old… And plenty of nasty parks near roads with no fences, 15 feet tall open play structures, no bathrooms, retention walls that border rocky cliffs or ponds and the occasional “Oooh Look Mama, balloon!!” (used condom) on the ground. Oh yeah that AND a few parks have signs that caution patrons to be on the look out for Rattlesnakes. I wish I was kidding.

  85. seashells says:

    I loved this post! It is so true!!! What I don’t like are the kid friendly colors of the park that are supposed to liven up the park and spark imagination…blah blah blah…my thought is that those brightly colored play structures serve as nothing more than kidddie camoflauge….turn your back from your kidlet in the bright red shirt and blue pants for just a second…when you turn back…he’s completely hidden in PLAIN sight. Whoever thought up this idea was clearly NOT. A. MOM!

  86. This blog post and your comment, Adrienne, are why I have not been a big park goer. I always thought I was lazy, but now I think perhaps I am just smarter than some other parents. LOL.

    Also, I think what happens if I have to use the bathroom. I can’t fit everyone inside of that disgusting and dark place.

  87. Kim says:

    Ah this is so funny and so true! Australia is just as bad and I can only think that men who don’t have children have designed them! There should be a law saying that only mums are allowed to design playgrounds from now on! LOL

  88. Wow, before that post, I didn’t realize how crappy parks were. But sounds like you’re right – parks are terrible. Also – my mother-in-law used to herd sheep (and goats). NO JOKE. She grew up in a super tiny village in Greece and didn’t even see a car until her 20s. She’s a crazy good babysitter.

  89. Rainyday says:

    Yep. Pretty well bang on every park trip I’ve ever taken. Except for the pond because holy hell – rotten luck you guys have that kind of death trap. I have my hands full with the busy streets that border ours.

    Oh, and our trip in August? Resulted in stitches for my youngest. I’m still traumatized. http://rainydaychocolate.blogspot.com/2011/08/before-and-after.html

  90. We do playdates like this too! WAY easier!!

  91. Janette says:

    Ooooo, I live in St. Louis! Thank you! I lead our local MOPS group and they would LOVE this info.

    But seriously, when designing a park, moms really should be consulted.

  92. Karla says:

    Parks and other city buildings are usually designed by city employees and elected officials. Occasionally an architect is involved. Unfortunately there isn’t a true design process since an interior designer, or other specialist is needed (architects design buildings, not interiors or other layouts). If you were building a hospital you’d want to talk to someone who has designed hospitals right? The same applies to parks. There are people who specialize in parks. When this doesn’t happen, you get parks like the one described above.

    Great post! I’m glad this park isn’t in my area!

  93. I’m glad you’re feeling better, Amber! Although, if I had mono and had to deal with two kids, you probably wouldn’t hear from me for weeks! You’re a trooper!

    As always, thanks for the laughs. I only have one kid who’s not quite walking yet, but I know this park experience from my baby-sitting days. I grew to hate parks then and I know I will again. They’re EXHAUSTING!

    But, kids have mastered that puppy dog look. That ‘pwwweeeeaaase-take-me-to-the-park’ look that makes you go weak in the knees and agree to take them. You forgot about how tiring it is; you convince yourself it will be fine this time. And then you get there….

    Keep ’em coming. I’m completely addicted to your blog!

  94. Naomi says:

    OMG! I can so relate. We went to a new park recently with friends. It had excellent equipment and looked super groovy but it was a child kidnappers heaven. The tunnels and slides went THROUGH a giant hill. so I was climbing up and down this wretched hill all day looking for my kids – if I wasn’t following them through the tunnel or slide. I was exhausted and cranky by the end. And of course they didn’t want to leave. By the time I got them in the car our roles were reversed! 🙂

  95. Mardi says:

    I took my youngest daughter to a random park on the weekend, which had awesome equipment, but was built right next door to some public housing. Nothing wrong with that, but there are an awful lot of drinkers who congregate in that park next to the playground, and so we had to smile nicely at the friendly drunk guy sitting just on the other side of the fence while he shouted encouraging comments and told us his life story.

  96. Nikki says:

    Our worst park experience was due to that sort of behaviour the night before. I spotted the empty box of red vodka cruisers and empties over to one side of the playground, then found the broken glass, then found the multiple pools of pink you-know-what on the ground and down the slide 🙁 At least they were opposite the hospital and within sight of the emergency room if someone had need of medical assistance :-/

  97. Alicia C. says:

    Those people who design parks should be reqiured to have a PhD in Playground Engineering. And their final year of classes should be nothing but parents as the instructors – doing nothing but ranting about the different parks they’ve visited for hours at a time. I have yet to find a good park…

  98. jules says:

    my neighborhood park has nice fancy gates around 75% of its perimeter…then a huge gaping space for the parking lot. because toddlers know not to walk into the parking lot, of course!!!!! SMH.

  99. I’m so jealous, the closest park we have is a mile away. We tried to walk there once, but the whole way was carpeted with stickers and no sidewalks. all the kiddies were too exhausted to play by the time we got there. But the plus side is we always have two adults to keep an eye on them since papa bear has to drive us.;)

  100. Oh I HATE parks like that. If there is a park with a huge distance between the bigger and smaller kids sections I will try to avoid that park.
    I also know that super panic stomach feeling because just this autumn I lost my Jack for a few minutes at a fall fair and I nearly died.

  101. LeahM says:

    This reminds me of when I went to the zoo and stupidly left my double stroller in the car. Toddler boy made a mad dash into the forest and Preschooler girl wandered the other way. Luckily, I’d brought my Ergo carrier. Or so I thought, until I put Toddler boy into it and he started ripping my hair out. The pain! Oh, I should also mention that every trip to the park is like this too and it is made even worse when my preschooler brings her bike, so she can get away from me even faster.

  102. Michele Wesdock says:

    So funny. I remember saying “You need TWO people for Hind and Go Seek!” many times : )

  103. Michele Wesdock says:

    “Hide” I mean! Although I suppose we’ve also played “Hind and Go Seek” we they haven’t wanted their diapers changed!

  104. Nemr says:

    I can’t believe you had a hating parks post without this key problem: NO BATHROOMS. So when you are potty -training your 2-year-old, or just trying to accommodate your 4-year-old, you have to round them up, buckle them in their car seats and drive away… All so someone can pee for 10 seconds. Or you can knock on the door of the house across the street from the park with the driveway full of toys and hope they understand. I’ve done that more than once.

  105. Angie says:

    Once again I’m laughing and nodding in agreement.

    I have to say, in 15 years of being a Mom (and five kids later), I have yet to sit peacefully in a park. Sometimes they add ducks or geese to these *family friendly* attractions. Ducks are pretty mild, pushy when they want you to feed them bread, but geese are slightly less polite and they are a bit more temperamental. It’s not fun facing off with an animal that’s almost as tall as me when it’s neck is stretched and the wing span makes you cringe a bit. 🙂

    Anyway, I don’t know if you have something like this where you live, but my husband and I have a family membership to the Dallas Arboretum, and we love going there, because there are a million and one things to keep them entertained without really killing both of us. We don’t even feel pressured to visit the entire park because the kids have their favorite things to do.

    But, we do look on a bit enviously of the couples that are just lazing in the grass reading books, and listening to ipods, etc. My husband wants the family to bring books for one of our trips. Mmmm. We all know how that’ll go, don’t we ladies? 🙂 I’m willing to try because I’d love to be proved wrong and actually get to relax in a park. 🙂

    Yet, I admit, going alone with kids is not as much fun and it’s an easier drive getting home from a park, than the Dallas Arboretum (which is about a 30 mile trip for us).

  106. Juliana B says:

    I’m so with you on the parks! We have one near our house that opens onto a busy PARKWAY! No fence, no nothing. Just the parkway and 6 lanes of whizzing traffic. Oh, and the odd homeless person sleeping on the playground benches. Yuck. Who the heck thinks up this stuff?

    But, I do have one word for you: Ireland. We had the best park experiences in Ireland. Every town we stopped in had an AWESOME park that was intelligently designed, fenced, policed by actual cops to keep vagrants and teenagers (sometimes the same thing…) out, sections for big kids and little kids, all visually accessible from all points of the play area. Brilliant!! Now why can’t anyone here figure that out??

  107. Silverdragon says:

    @Kristen – actually, outdoor playgrounds are relatively un-germy, because they have the benefit of sunlight (UV is a natural disinfectant) and rain etc. Indoor playgrounds are the germ factories!

  108. Lol at the piranha and eel in the park pond. 🙂

  109. That is a truly flawed design…

    Question: Are there really serpents and piranhas in the water? 😉

  110. K says:

    Your post was hilarious and I can’t believe there are so many that go through this. I don’t find much issue with parks. I go so early in the morning that most of the mommy world are begging their kids to just go play in their rooms quietly for a bit! I also have a Mommy I’m here locator bear. I put it on my 4 year old and he knows when it beeps that he is to stop exactly where he is and look for me. Of course, it’s so loud and obnoxious that every parent/caregiver in the vicinity knows that he’s being looked for! He got away from me at a 2 story children’s museum and thought it was funny not to answer when I called his name. Now the bear answers whether he wants to or not!

  111. Starla says:

    You are completely brilliant…I want to be your new best friend! lol!

  112. Ashleigh says:

    You all need to move to New Zealand! We have no nasty animals (natural fauna is birds and lizards) and all my local playgrounds are great! Never found a condom or needles, or even glass at the playground. Have had a few problems with earthquakes lately…..but otherwise a very kid friendly place to live.

  113. Amanda says:

    Wow, after reading all these comments, I feel so fortunate to live where we have GREAT parks. None with water anywhere in sight. Whew!!!!

  114. Amanda says:

    No condoms or needles either!!! AND bathrooms. They all have bathrooms!!!

  115. kal says:

    heehee – was just thinking that we are lucky in australia (and that we must breed them tough). we have great parks where i live. some are fenced and have fantastic big fig trees fully shading the area, and others are definitely a two-parent outing because they are right next to the beach and have rather tall climbing frames. one of our faves is even known as “broken-arm park” because a few friends have taken trips to emergency and come home in plaster after falling there… but they still love going!

  116. Heather says:

    I know u!

  117. Mercyd says:

    Lol! This sound like many of my adventures!!! Sound like Nomahegan park in cranford,NJ. That was also the time i got yelled at by another parent when after chasing my son before jumping in the big Pond/Lake i put a wrist band leash on him. I was despaerate and just wanted to get back to my van on the opposite sidebof the park!

  118. Pattikins says:



    E V E R !!!!!

  119. Maura says:

    OMG – baby scrambling and screaming “Noooooo…” too funny. Ahhh, the park. Where my 8 year old tells me he’s booooored, and the 8 month old is too young to really enjoy any of it. So I spend *how* much time loading them up with sunscreen, packing the diaper bag, water etc, forcing hats on heads (to which the oldest will always reply “I don’t need a hat, I’m fiiine” “You DO need a hat, it’s HOT out, just PUT. It. ON.”), and walking the distance to and from the park – for approximately 30 seconds of actual park time.

  120. Melanie says:

    I thought I read it somewhere, but I’m trying to remember where you live. Because I’ve been to a park with this same moronic design. And one of my kids almost fell in too. And a couple weeks later I read that a day care had visited the park and one of their kids drowned.

  121. Nic says:

    I think we are relatively lucky in Oz. Though I have to question some of the equipment where there is a little kids slide but the only way up is one of those net things that a 16 month old can’t quite climb yet.

  122. Hannah says:

    Yet are full of bird/dog/human poop!

  123. christine says:

    wow this reminded me of our terrible park. we also have a cliff of death but instead of water it goes into a mostly dry creek, at a drop off of about 20 feet! horrible horrible planning. they also put the whole structure on a raised bed of mulch, b/c mulch is safer right? well it creates this huge 2-3 feet high hill, so all toddlers run and fall off the edges…ugh i hate this park

  124. Rachel says:

    Glad to hear you are feeling better…
    Hate parks like this too….argh!

  125. Christy says:

    Crazy good post!!! I laughed until I cried!

  126. Julie Bernhardt says:

    My blood pressure gets up just reading that! That is definitely the worst designed park I’ve ever heard of. It would make sense if the toddler park was on the other side – then the wall might actually have a purpose! Maybe they put the equipment on the wrong sides and then just went Oops. Oh well.

  127. Carolyn says:

    I’m betting the ICE CREAM MAN designed the park just so he could roll on by in the nick of time. That guy must be making bank!

  128. L says:

    Can u please bind your posts into a book so I can give it to everyone I know for Christmas? Every post makes my day…. This one reminds me of every park we have ever been to.

  129. TaraFly says:

    LOL Me too! Will our kids ever reach that age, do you think??
    I envy every parent who sits under a shady tree, reading a book, while their children play peacefully and safely nearby.

    There must be a secret door into their perfect little paradise… 😛

  130. TaraFly says:

    Your comment made me finally realize why all of the “cool” jungle gym equipment was removed from my former elementary school in the last couple of decades! LOL
    Naturally two or three teachers weren’t able to keep up with the dozens of children attempting to break their necks! 😉

  131. Clare says:

    this is such a great post! Oh the amount of times that I have pondered the decision by the Park People to place a playground right smack on the freeway with little to no fence inbetween…or to put in metal slides without any sunshades…nothing like a scalded toddler to know you are alive…

  132. TaraFly says:

    I had to check where you lived! I seriously wondered for a second if you’d visited our local city park. ;D

    Except the Cliff of Death in our instance is literally a sheer wall carved from rock, with a duck pond below. An actual rocky cliff that is approximately 2-stories high… with a flimsy split rail fence as a “barrier”.

    According to Wikipedia, a split rail fence is “typically used for agricultural or decorative fencing.” Not for keeping children away from 30-foot rock embankments of death! 😛

    I won’t visit that park without extra adult hands… preferably one adult per child.

  133. Kathy says:

    Lol, sounds sorta like our last “adventure” at the park (at least the crappy design part), except I had three going different directions. We hadn’t even been there for five minutes and one came up with blood pouring from his mouth, asking “mama do you have a napkin?” He’d busted his two front teeth on a bouncy toy.. Soo, I rounded up his two younger, very unhappy-about-leaving siblings and headed to the dentist. Fun!

  134. Kez says:

    I am loving your blog – I have a set of twins (three and a half year old boys) and a little girl (18months), and these stories so remind me of my lot! I had the same feeling when I “lost” the twins the other day – they escaped by boosting each other over our wall and went for a stroll around the neighbourhood. Not a good feeling! Glad to hear you are better.

  135. Rainyday says:

    I never go anywhere without a potty seat. I have a little one that fits in the car or stroller easily. It’s been used many, many times. And not just for pee. That’s always a joy.

  136. Misty says:

    Good one! I love your point of view and sense of humor. You are now on my iGoogle page so I remember to check everyday :D. I am glad you are feeling better!

  137. Kelly says:

    It’s Lake Balboa, right? That park would be awesome…if they built a giant fence around the entire playground area.

  138. Heather B says:

    Right?! Who designs these things? Its like they are designed to torture parents and shorten our life spans through excessive worry. So many high play structures with openings that drop off over metal bars. yikes!

  139. PartlySunny says:

    I lost a FRIEND’S kid in a park once. Talk about a sinking feeling in your stomach and cold sweat. I’m pretty sure that took at least a couple of years off my life.

    Great piece — loved it.

  140. Laura says:

    More St. Louis moms?!!!! Right on!! 🙂

  141. Ashley Swango says:

    yep, i sit. If my kids fall, that was a lesson in gravity. What is the opposite of a helicopter parent… because that’s probably what I am!

  142. Desiree says:

    I’m so glad my babies are getting older and usually play together now(they are 3 and almost 5).

  143. maggiemoo says:

    Yay for you! We need more parents like that:)

  144. maggiemoo says:

    I think God everyday we live a good 6 miles from our nearest park on a busy state route. We have a BIG backyard, enough things (natural and otherwise) to climb on and a few neighbor kids to mix it up once in a while. Our visits to the park (at least the playground portion) are few and far between.

  145. Pamela says:

    I HATE PARKS too!!!!!! I WANT to love them but I’m a BIG critic too!

  146. Mistie says:

    Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this post! I am the park freak mom and everyone thinks I’m crazy and overreacting, it’s nice to see I’m not alone in my thinking & scrutiny about parks. I actually try to avoid them if I can. I like small neighborhood parks the best. This was the perfect depiction of my day at the park, except that I have one more and another on the way.. I think we are buying a jungle gym/play yard this summer.

  147. Greta says:

    This post is hilarious! I feel like you are writing about MY park experiences >:) (We live in the Denver, CO area). Even the newer, nicer parks have a strange division between the little/big kid play structures. I cannot keep track of my 2 year old and 4 year old at the same time. Poor planning. Like you, I had a panic attack when I was following my 2 year old and could not find my 4 year old anywhere in the sea of kids!!!
    Thanks for writing this piece. Soooo funny.

  148. eandjomomma@yahoo.com says:

    Ha! First let me say, I’m glad you’re feeling better. As for the playground experience, I was the bad mommy who wouldn’t take her kids to the park. The only time we went was when I had dh or grandparents or a friend along. Mine would have been like yours, off to the nearest death trap. You are a total hoot 🙂

  149. As always… AWESOME post… perfect … been there (okay… geographically that is a lie… but “there”, you know?)

  150. Renee Franks says:

    BOY have I been there! lol I feel your pain!

    I learned early on to check the local playground finder to see what the “amenities” are, and until recently I refused to go to a park that had no fenced in area. It’s just so much more relaxing to know they’re locked in with me. lol

  151. cindy says:

    That park sucks! Holy heart attack with baby at the water, older boy out of sight. Nightmare! But thank you for slipping in the thing about the cookies for breakfast. You always know how to give a giggle!

  152. EllieBassJFI says:

    Mmm, yes, the el Darko Parko…i took my kids to one last week that had that same stupid wall as well as a fence around the park, that is surrounded by roads, that all the big kids have fun climbing UNDER! I know that the park was recommended to me by someone who does not have young kids (should have been my first clue) and clearly the persons(s) who made that playtime terror zone have never even seen child or it’s mother, not even their own. And yet I thought on arrival, ok, maybe we can make this work…nope, opposite direction running children with the added danger of secret access points to downtown streets…
    Never again…

  153. Angie says:

    HAHAHA! One of my favourite posts from you so far. This is so true, though. I bet a single guy designed it. Nature parks are far, far better. They may seem dangerous with snakes and bugs and so many trees all around [especially here in Australia], but it’s so much easier to keep everyone together and leaves/sticks/rocks are far more entertaining & educational than play equipment. Oh, & there’s no walls!

    Also, congrats on the award! You deserve it!

  154. Roccie says:

    Water critters are going to make me laugh just thinking of them tomorrow.

    Hope you are resting well.

  155. Brad Bieber says:

    Lynn- I live in Holly Springs and know the park you are talking about. I work at the Natural Learning Initiative at NCSU and would like to talk to the folks in HS about the new parks bond and working with the community (yes, this includes moms) for the redesign of the play areas.

  156. April says:

    Last spring we welcomed girl number two into our loving family. Girl number one (then two-years-old) and I went to our favorite park near our home several times a week almost until girl number two was boght born. I was fearful of encountering this same scenario with my girls, so I purchased a gargantuan cedar swingset, clubhouse thingy to entertain them and a few neighborhood kids. The kids go berserk in the safety of my backyard while the moms lovingly gaze at them over our cups of coffee.

  157. Katherine says:

    Ackkkk…. is like that some kind of mom torturing center or something? Seriously, do park designers do ANY kind of research to see what moms really want before building?

  158. Bethany says:

    I am so glad to know that I am not the only momma out there who is more exhausted then her kids after park time! I also loved that your fish had teeth!

  159. Nyssa Stack says:

    AMAZING POST! You’re honest, hilarious, and brave! Park adventures are reserved for Auntie adventures in my house. I do not believe that I can control any environment besides my house and backyard. Our activities have been limited now but there’s just too much to worry about. The indoor McDonald’s playplace is pretty safe but then I worry about how they are getting along with the other kids inside that maze of tight spaces and slides.

  160. Sarah says:

    Oh my gosh! This is so me! I hate taking my kids to parks unless the play structure is fenced in so no one can escape. I’ve always said that raising kids is like herding cats!

  161. Lena says:

    I became very stressed out just from reading this suspense story. That is obviously a very bad park design.

  162. Eve says:

    I giggled through the whole thing, but I thought you should know that “cookies for breakfast” made me laugh the hardest. Not sure why, it just did.

  163. Tannis says:

    Too funny! I have to say though that I love the park! Two reasons: 1) not home cleaning the house and 2) not home dirtying the house 🙂 Works for me… Not so much for the 12 year old, but who asked her? I’m like a tennis match spectator constantly looking for them, only I have 5 kids so it can take a while to get back to them.

    I’ll share my worst park story from this summer – the park I love, with fun, creative equipment, stuff for all ages, room to run, path to ride bikes around, etc. But no bathroom, only a portapotty, fortunately one of the large wheelchair ones, but still, not a diaper changing facility. So we were there for over an hour this summer. I didn’t spend more than 2 minutes in the playground for between trips to the bathroom with the 6 year old (2 trips in an hour?) the 3 year old (3 trips including a change of pants because she had to wait for them to pump out and clean the portapotty at 11am on a sunny Tuesday (?!) and changing the 1 year old not once but twice!

    Finally gave up and figured they might as well use the bathroom at home!

  164. CA MOM OF FOUR says:


    I loved the part about when crappy baby almost got to the pond and MOMMY saved him!!! LOL! If ONLY it were just a story, but its real life-and its really how life is for us all the time!!!!!!

    After I had my third child, I really limited where I went for a LOOOOOOOONG time for the reasons described here. It was much easier to have them all play in the backyard with TEN friends rather than chase them around a park.

    There is a park that my kids used to call CASTLE PARK and begged to go. It was a VERY FUN PARK if you had one child. If you had three, virtual nightmare! The ship with sand in it-you could not see around anything! So, if they were not in the same area, eeps!

  165. Liz Benbrooks says:


    And mine is afraid of the noisy flushing of public toilets and will dissolve into screaming tears if I try to take him in one with me.

  166. We have a lovely park within sight of our back yard with two age-appropriate play structures directly next to one another. (Our city’s been given a Playful City USA award, actually. Oh, and I don’t stand in my back yard and watch my three-year-old from there…I’m just saying it’s close.)

    However, THIS:

    “And then I will look at him. Sternly.”

    THIS, I do. (I was a former teacher, so my stern look is pretty good and works marvelously on the less callous children.) So I laughed. Snorted, actually. So, thanks. 🙂

  167. Nakya says:

    Hahahahahaaaaaaaaaa. I believe we have the same park designer here in Grand Junction, CO.

  168. jenny says:

    A pond on the little kid side of the park??? My 19 month old fell in a stand alone pond that was not next to anything the other week. Having a pond next to a playground would not be good! I totally relate with this park experience. My two sons are like the repelling ends of magnets when they are let loose at a park. They immediately run to opposite sides!

  169. Ryan says:

    This? ” I will hunt him down. And then I will look at him. Sternly. ”


  170. Andrea says:

    So, my kid is not the only one who has eaten cookies for breakfast!! I’m not the only nominee for worst mother of the week! Whew!

  171. Dunn says:

    I’m still searching for the perfect one.

  172. Fitzgerald says:

    kids are so naughty

  173. Alana says:

    My husband has a degree in Sports Management (basically marketing, finance and event planning for sports…) and he had to take a full semester on park and playgrround design. Obviously not many schools offer this. He references this class often when pointing out fklaws with our local playgrounds.

  174. chanel says:

    Daddy quickly had them trained NOT to tell Mummy about falling off the slide or hanging upside down from the climby things.

  175. Awesome! This is why I started my blog!

  176. D says:

    OMG! You are SO right about parks…seriously what are they thinking with the cliff drop off into the pond????? there must be a class they all take on how to drive parents insane!

  177. Sandie says:

    Oh so real. So real we have a dinosaur park on a hill in the woods with three separate play areas & a gazebo in the middle blocking our view

  178. Tiffany says:

    When I say no because they ate cookies for breakfast. —- LOL!!

    Anyway, every single park I’ve been to sucks when it comes to putting them next to something dangerous. Mainly creeks, that are wooded. So you’re kid can get lost AND fall onto rocks many many feet below. Why wouldn’t they put a fence up or something?

  179. Liz says:

    Herders of actual sheep get to have dogs to go running around. And the dogs can nip at the sheep to get them to move the right way.

    And sheep WANT to be in clumps. The hard part with real sheep herding is when you need part of the flock one way and part the other way.

    I hope you sent a slightly edited version of this to your parks and rec department.

  180. Sheila says:

    This is great!!! I can sooo relate, (I’m a “playground blogger” and mother of 3) keep up the great work 🙂 just posted on our fb fan page.

  181. jennifer says:

    The toddler kicking you in the face and chest is awesome and so exactly like my life that it’s unreal. Great post!

  182. Linda says:

    Yeah Ashley! We all gotta relax. It took me a while to get that but I get that now. Let em go! Let em fall. Let em get their scrapes, bruises, soaking wet, muddy, whatever. Helecoptering does our kids no favors in life. Still, I laughed plenty at the blog. It is nice to be able to SEE your toddlers without a wall! And a moat! hahahaha

  183. Kate L says:

    That just made my month!! Hysterical… and all too familiar with 2 1/2 year old twins! Hahahaha!

  184. Maria says:

    Dear Crappy Pictures Lady, I’ve been following you for a few months and have really been enjoying your posts. However, you better be careful because your pictures seem to be getting better. You’re going to have to start being sloppier or you’ll have to rename yourself to “not-so crappy pictures…”

  185. Amy says:

    Exactly how it goes

  186. jaimi says:

    you made me giggle out loud!! thanks! encore encore!

  187. Sarah says:

    My beef is always the same….why did no one think to build an cover for over the play equipment so the kids and parents can stay cool? If you cover the playground than on rainy days it wont soak the equipment and sand, then kids can still play on crappy days. Your story sounds just like mine, however when I took my kid and baby to the park and the baby ran, I stared to freak out in front of a group of “close mom friends”. Not one of them rags told me that I had left in such a hurry that I forgot all the sand toys and buckets we brought. Wouldnt you think a kind woman would have seen this and said “hay lady you are forgetting your sand toys, let me get them for you”. It was really painful.

  188. Janet says:

    This had me laughing so hard I was crying. I have three boys 2 years apart in age- what were we thinking?- anyway we had a park that all the mothers in my play group loved- they were moms of sweet obedient girls- Going to this park for me was a pentathalon, leaping running, wiping, refereeing, horror and mayhem… Your entry was so spot on. I had forgotten those days of adventure in the park, since my boys are now 12-16 years old. Thank you for your blog and taking me back. I haven’t laughed that hard in years.

  189. marlon says:

    It is a fact that when you have a little child or a baby at home, there are certain things that has to be added to the list of things to buy and purchase.

  190. I found your blog last night… I can’t stop reading and laughing… and feeling like I found a new friend… Hi new friend!

  191. Danielle says:

    Oh my gosh! This is my new favorite blog! I only have one crappy baby, but I know this exact scenario too well!

  192. Jessica says:

    OK, so I’m a little late here but I just spit on myself and my laptop by trying not to laugh out loud and wake the family. So had to comment. Love this!

  193. sara says:

    if this is in the LA area… i think i know EXACTLY which park it is…. and yes it is very lame and dangerous and i hate it…. i too am NOT a big park fan, but have finally found one that i can mostly tolerate…..

  194. Katie says:

    I’m so glad I saw this. I had a very similar experience, but on top of the horror of not being able to find my kid then finding him splashing around in a pond I also felt the glares and shock of other parents judging me and I couldn’t handle it. I will never go back to that park again. I was attending a mom’s meet up and I was the only person with more than 1 kid. I’ve noticed that most of the moms only have 1 baby and now I now I why. It’s way too hard at a park unless it’s fenced in!

  195. Kyla says:

    Your writings are so spot-on and completely hilarious. I do not feel alone in the world of parenting “challenges” anymore. 🙂 This one is especially ringing true for me after several park outings with my 18-month old and 4-year old.

  196. Rebecca Brazier says:

    Do you, perchance, live in/near San Diego? Because I’m pretty sure my husband and I took our one year old to this park last weekend, and yes, he headed straight for the water. 🙂

  197. Gae says:

    What I want to know is who are these idiots who design these play structures, but don’t design or provide any shade to cover them?? Who can go down a metal or plastic slide when it is 100 degrees out? Are they trying to burn our children?? Do they think kids only go to the park when it’s 70 degrees? Ridiculous!!

  198. Lis says:

    You make me laugh.
    But I don’t think you picture of the icecream truck is crappy enough.
    It’s quite a nice picture.

  199. Nicole says:

    Is this Balboa Park? If not. Same set-up. Very funny!

  200. Denise says:

    Stinking hilarious! I have two sons and I so identify with you. Why do they not have a mom on the park planning committee? A mom with more than one kid??

  201. neo says:

    Oh my goodness! I’m exhausted just reading this! And I only have one kid.

  202. Ginger says:

    Ahh just going back re-reading old posts, I need to get my mind off of things! I need laughter 🙂 Anyways, there is a new park that was just unveiled last summer and i LOVE it! It’s all soft, ALL soft, my kid could fall and not hurt himself! LOL However this was back when he was just an infant, I’m sure I’ll think of some downfall this spring/summer when I take my toddler there.

  203. Brittany says:

    You’re in L.A. right??? That sounds exactly like Lake Balboa park..!! I never realized the things you pointed out (well I only have a 17 month old right now!) I actually love that park 😛

  204. Tina says:

    I so live down the street from this park! I hate this park! Every kid loves it because of the huge park and every mom hates it because of the “Water feature” WTF were they thinking! I am right there with you.

  205. Amy Rosenberg says:

    At the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, there is a play space called Alice in Wonderland. Walls and hiding places everywhere. Impossible to keep an eye on even one kid.

  206. Amy Rosenberg says:

    True playground story: we were at the local elementary school playground, as part of an after school program, and the kids are playing on the big wooden play structure. We then notice that the play structure is on FIRE. There is a small fire burning the wood. We move the kids away and report the fire to the elementary school. I speak to a district employee who says, “yes, I set that fire on purpose in because we will be removing that play structure.” I say, “You set a fire on a playground, where neighborhood kids play throughout the day, and while afterschool program was in session, and then walked away?” He was remarkably unconcerned, and couldn’t understand what the big deal was.

  207. Erica M. says:

    Okay, crappy boy totally reminds me of the kid I nanny for. He gets into all kinds of mischief! Haha. This is a picture of what I caught him doing today:

    He’s been trying to stack things on top of each other in order to open the pool gate. This is his latest achievement.

  208. ANGIE says:

    lovely story, when i started to read, my kids and me getting into a park drifted to my mind, and I couldnt stop of smiling. A reality bite.
    Thx for a laugh

  209. Angeles says:


  210. Gini T. says:

    THANK YOU! Every single time I take my 2.5 year old daughter to the park I ask myself, “Have the people designing these places ever actually spent time with children ages 1-10?”. I actually love taking daughter to the park but I only have one to wrangle and I feel cold and shaky at the thought of doing it with two. Another one I always think is, “WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO THEY NOT PUT A SHORT FENCE AROUND THE SWINGS!!!!!! AND ANOTHER ONE AROUND THE PLAYGROUND SO MY KID CAN PLAY AND I CAN NOT HAVE A HEART ATTACK EVERY TIME SHE GOES FROM MY LINE OF SIGHT!” My favorite park in my city has one way in, one way out and sand/water play area is fenced separately far from the rest of the toys. Brilliant! Though they still need a fence around the swings if you ask me.

  211. Diane says:

    I laughed so hard, tears started rolling down! thanks, I needed that

  212. Natalie says:

    My heart is racing just reading this! this is why I don’t go to parks with my twins. I can’t handle it.

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  214. Tara says:

    I love this little story ! why is leaving the house to go ANYWHERE with the kids so stressful ! I recently went to a bowling birthday party and my little one took off down the lanes and I took off after her and fell so hard on my ass/back I couldn’t walk the next day. I burn about 1000 calories from pure sweat every time I take my kids anywhere…wheres the wine ?

  215. Jen says:

    AMEN! I hate parks like these! I hate mom’s groups (I don’t hate mom’s groups, I love getting out with mom’s groups, really, just hate going to the park without my husband’s help) or kid’s parties where the parents want to go and chit chat and let their kids run in the crazy mob of children, all the while you see a random man clearly alone walking creepily around the play equipment eyeing your daughters. They see you staring at them and walk away awkwardly and ashamed only to return again a few minutes later like they can’t help themselves! I will be calling the cops on you! You just watch yourself! I can’t help myself, I have to get up and stay near them! I hate the older parks that have gaping holes at the very tip top of the structure for children to accidentally fall off of or get pushed off of. My children and I saw a boy fall from one of these once and break his arm screaming in pain. I was so thankful they saw it happen (not thankful it happened to him), but they have been cautious ever since, and hope they always will be. Better to be a live chicken than a dead duck my mama always told me! Only time I kinda enjoy the park is if hubby is with me and we drive to one of the fancy rich neighborhoods and try and pretend we live there while enjoying their updated parks with safer equipment with fewer kids and bullies crowding the structures, mostly just old ladies out for a stroll with their groomed toy poodles.

  216. Missy Froeber says:

    Just discovered your blog now and am laughing hysterically, because it is all soooo true! This blog especially struck me. The old “divide and conquer” trick. I am a firm believer that the parent to child ratio should be two adults to 1 child! One adult to watch or hang onto the child and one adult to schelp all the stuff you need: diaper bag, snacks, toys, jacket, etc.

  217. Tyra says:

    Sheep herding, parenting-same thing. I love the “Water” ‘yep’…1yo boy likes to repeat the same thing over and over…. and over… ‘yep’ is the only thing I have to defend myself.