Playground Etiquette


I pushed my daughter in her stroller around the playground to get the lay of the land, They’ve really tamed these things down. No see saws, no merry go rounds you could spin at a million miles an hour, the slides don’t even have enough height to build up proper speed. Not that my ten month old daughter could take advantage of any of these tame attractions. She can’t walk yet, if I put her down she’d just crawl around and pick up every piece of dirt, blade of grass, and loose booger and try to stick them in her mouth. So I get ready to put her in one of those swings shaped like a Grandmother’s too loose underwear, but they’re both occupied. A Mom has stuck what appear to be twin daughters in each of the baby swings.

So I take a seat on the bench. My daughter is loving the people watching. It’s a beautiful day and we’re even under a tree that has honest to goodness parrots chirping above us. I’m sitting in the middle of a goddamn Norman Rockwell painting, but one of my sicknesses is how quickly I can get antsy waiting for something.

Being a parent supposedly increases your patience, but I can’t help but to look over at these twins taking up the valuable real estate of these swings and notice they’re not even being swung. They’re just sitting there like hung up laundry barely blowing in the wind. The Mom is playing around on her smartphone playing a game or buying scented candles or doing whatever it is people do when their fingers are attached to the screen of the phone. I start wondering how long it is I have to wait until I can ask her if she’s done with the swing. Being new to this I don’t know the proper social mores of the playground. I have vague recollections as a kid during recess there’d be a long line for the swings and we’d get ten swings before we had to jump off. Just as I’m ready to break the peaceful, communal spirit of the playground I notice she pulls one of the kids out of the swing and into the double stroller. Before she can change her mind I walk my daughter over there and plop her in.

The mother of the twins says in some eastern European accent, “How cute!”

I say “thank you” and remember to say “Yours are too.”

I push my daughter once and then again and maybe one more time and then she starts flapping her wings like she does when she wants to get picked up right before she starts crying. I don’t know where she learns this stuff from.


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