Park Days


Every once in a while, I have to break free of routine, and indulge my inner child. The best way I know how to accomplish a carefree, whimsical day of spontaneity, is by announcing a Mommy-son date day. Over the last two years, they have become a frequent practice in our house.

Being a single momma, I get a little stir crazy after weeks of following the same, monotonous routines. We wake up, I cajole a tiny person into his clothing, we hustle off to preschool, I go about my day, then pick up Tiny from preschool. We squeeze in a grocery shopping excursion, or a neighborhood bike ride, I make dinner, force-feed dinner to the toddler, clean the kitchen, enforce bath time, commandeer a tiny person into PJs, we have toy battle, or watch TV show, and then we settle down for bed time, and I harold through a whining spell.

It is then that the moment of magic comes, after the tiny human has fallen asleep. Finally, I get Mommy time. And, believe me, there are days that I crave Mommy time.

It’s a mom thing.

In between the nuances of everyday activities, of course, are laughing fits, crying fits, and whining fits. Discipline, craziness, and love. Dancing, singing, and one Mommy, holding tightly onto patience during moments of mischief. Seeing as Tiny Tot is in that age of, “What’s that?” and, “I’m three, I can do what I want!” this mommy clings tightly to patience on a daily basis.

Like every other mommy on the planet, I am living life with a child. A happy, joyous, testing child. Every day. And, like all parents, I live in the life of the good, the bad, the ugly.

Oh, wait, I forgot something: I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Occasionally, though, I need to break away from routine, and create a day of play. It’s just me, and the tiny tot, and our carefree imaginations. There is no structure, no agenda, no to do list. We giggle a lot, run a lot, and play like maniacs.

Wait, I forgot to mention one important aspect. I also use that day to click pictures like an insane person. What can I say? Photos come with the territory.

Plus, I do it anyway.

This weekend, we had one such play date. Tiny Tot is a toddler of habit, and loves to frequent the same places. I mean, I understand his theory. Why vary from perfection?

To begin our Mommy-son day date, we head to our favorite tea room, where my son spends the majority of his time drinking from a tiny tea cup, eating crispy breadsticks, and refusing all real food. I, on the other hand, gorge myself, figuring we’ll run off the excess in the coming moments. Plus, I love a good turkey rueben.

After we finish our meal, we hurry across the street to the park. And, for a few hours, I remember what it is like to be a child. Tiny Tot and I run, jump, fly, chase, climb, tag, laugh, yell, and annoy the poor, defenseless turtles.

The saving grace for the turtles, who live in two connected ponds at the park, is that they live behind a gated fence. They are the only animals safe from the pounding feet of my chasing three year-old. Which is good, because turtles tend to be a lot slower than, say, a squirrel or a bird.

Turtles are also safe from the phrase, “But I just need to touch it!”

Did I mention that Tiny Tot loves to attack the birds? Especially when they move from one side of the park to the other, without the foresight to fly far, far away. Their inability to fly farther than five feet is a signal to my tiny human to continue the chase. And continue he does. After all, he’s running after them, but they’re only moving a few feet to the side.

It’s a perfect game of Toddler Hide and Seek. Bird Style. I’m nearly convinced that the reason God gave birds wings was so that they could fly away from chasing toddlers. Poor pigeons.

We spend the day running around the playground equipment, drawing dinosaurs in the sand, hiding behind oak trees, and climbing a stationary red caboose. Sure, we still have moments of correction, and points of drama. Unfortunately, the need to discipline follows every parent around like a backpack. But, once time is served, and apologies made, we resume with the overall goal for our date: having fun.

Most importantly, the day date has one, unexpected bonus for this tired mommy. It gives me a time to reset. To recharge from the week. To reengage with my baby, and to reestablish a connection with my inner child.

It helps when a toddler reminds me of the fun in life.

No comments posted on February 11, 2013 in Parenting, Winging It, Mom Style

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