Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jumbled thoughts on my local park

Today it was daddy day. Mama went to her private practice and dad (that's me) took control of the balls of energy known as my kids. I'm not the stereotypical dad of yesteryear who would be a crazed mess if this situation happened upon him, I'm current dad who can handle the kids. I know how to change diapers, feed babies, snuggle, soothe, discipline, control, etc. I don't need a reward or a gift certificate or a pat on the back. If you're a dad and you don't contribute, you're a dick.

The park is the perfect place to kill time; get some fresh air and, did I say, kill some time? A 5-year-old with crazy energy and imagination to match can take a couple acre park and turn it into his own private Wonderland. We have one just up the street. An old park with old trees and wide open, sprawling lawns. In the middle is the jungle gym area where the man commands the stage. He's no longer ambivalent about meeting kids in the sand, as now he seems to have become a social butterfly, sometimes standing in front of a group of kids or following along until one finds his shadowing intriguing enough to play with him. Most of the time the game is predictable. Tag is involved, as is a sword and a pirate and some sort of thunderous crashing.

While he's involved in some sort of crash-tag-world-war-drama-fest, his sister and I sit on the sidelines. Hope is laughing at kids in swings and slobbering or gnawing on both fists, while I scope the setting assessing whether babies are cute or not, or why the kid with a mustache insists on wrapping the swing over and over the top bar.

"That baby is really ugly. That one has no hair. Nice outfit on that one," I say under my breath of course. "She's definitely a nanny with a kid with white hair like that." It's bad I know, but we all do this in some way or another. I watch women look at other women. You can see that they start at the shoes and move there way up. Men I think start at whatever area appeals to them most and move around the ball park.

Anyway. Parks are a great place to see parenting at its best or worst. Dakota throws sand at Logan. Mom of Dakota looks the other way. She's a hipster more concerned with the cuffs on her jeans. Logan's mom is vigilant and confronts Dakota. Wrong move. Suddenly hipster mom leaves the cuffs and moves in to see what the deal is. Things are settled easily but not without some interesting moments. You see I am convinced that parks are just excuses for moms (mostly) to let the kids go wild while they chit-chat with other hipster moms. Nothing wrong with it, moms need a break too, but you can keep an ear peeled or an eye out for your hipster-influenced kid at the same time.

Then I think and ultimately conclude that the wild kid without manners is a reflection of the hipster parents. Some hipsters parents are cool, but some think they are too cool. You shouldn't breastfeed your 3-year-old child just because of some "cool" article in the LA Weekly said so.

All this while I sit watching my "cool" kid impersonate a pirate or a mummy or a crazed police officer. Oh shit! I think I am a hipster. Meanwhile, baby Hope is likely thinking in her small little head "Parents are lame, and yes dad I am going to Burning Man when I get older."

Long live the local park and all the weird things it makes my head think of.