Having two children under two means having a house of madness many days. We try to get the kids out daily, but considering the chore it can be, sometimes we opt for maintaining cabin fever.
There is a fantastic park at the elementary school down the road that we'll walk to in the evenings. We'll even go to Burger King or Chic-Fil-A just so the oldest rugrat can play on the indoor toy playscape. During the summer we have a pool on the other side of the neighborhood we can take them too. My wife will occasionally meet up with a mommy group in some preordained setting. She'll also try to get to the library for toddler reading days. These last two are great, but it requires my wife to chase one down while occupying the other.
So nights like last night are really a treat for everyone. We went to one of our favorite quick meal restaurants, Mama Fu's Asian House in Southpark Meadows at the south edge of Austin. The best part of the location is a GIANT playground area outside in the middle of a block of restaurants.
Great marketing really, if you want families to come to your facility, entice the kids. Hands down, that philosophy works. Happy kids make for happy parents. Probably works the other way around too...but still.
We've come to this park on many occasions just as a break in the mundane. My daughter loves having all the other kids around. Her complete lack of fear or acknowledgment of dangerous situations keeps me on my toes the entire time. There are a lot of things for kids to fall off of at this facility. Note the three foot drop off the stairs in the above photo! She also insists on climbing up herself but will realize the rungs of what ever contraption she's attempting are just a little too tall. So what's a smart little kid to do when the fun is so very high and she is so very low? Yep, find the nearest stranger...preferably male...and raise your arms for assistance. (Yes that happened last night...the fellow dad just shot a smile over to me as I reached down to help the little fearless one).
A month or so ago, the above red curvy slide was an issue. My daughter doesn't navigate slides with grace. I'm not sure if she chickens out or if she thinks, "if I slide down there, they'll have me and the fun will stop." Either way, getting her to slide down to me is nearly impossible. Take away visibility and it's nearly over. She got stuck in red curvy one and wouldn't go up or down to get out. She wasn't panicking or anything, just causing a road block. A group of kids would start to go down and you would hear "There's a baby in here!" She'd begin to follow them all the while trying to find my voice. Some would crawl up the slide and she'd follow them right back up. Took a full 15 minutes to get her out of that stupid thing.
Last night though, the slide was officially conquered...at least the slide down to daddy part. Each of the slides in these two photos plus a couple that are out of the camera's eye she would slide down head first. She looked like an 80's kooky gameshow contestant. Arms outstretched flying down the chute. Hooray for the little accomplishments.
There was a cute set of 18 month-ish twin girls playing on the equipment above here. My daughter, who is almost two was following along right behind them much of the way. The bouncy/floppy bridge between two of these units was just a head of this little pack of girls. One twin had her foot on the bridge, mine was between her and her sister in line to cross the bridge. Their mother is coming up under from the other side as this begins. Mine gives her diaper a little shove to encourage what is now a frightened child crossing molten lava! A little resistance, but nothing to cry about. The mother is now at the first daughter's side next to the bridge. I'm still staying back a bit. Mine then places one hand on the child's back and one on the diaper and gives a final SHOVE of encouragement. The child begins wailing. I climb through and grab mine, telling her no pushing. The mother is actually saying, it's OK, directed at us and not to her own kid. The other twin is laughing. This makes me smile a bit. She takes the opportunity to go from third in line to flying across that bridge...showing her little sister what a weenie she is. My daughter and I go find another area to play on.
I guess impatience is something I'm supposed to quell. I guess bullying isn't always black and white either. My kid has my wife's attitude. "Hey stupid, you're holding up the line, step or I'll shove your ass across this bridge." Our son is going to be black and blue once he starts playing with her.
Austin or not, any ideas for things to do with kids that won't make a ding in my pocket book? How do you deal with a burgeoning bully?