Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Park zoo

My boys LOVE the park - like most kids. We don't have a backyard so they are especially excited when we tell them we are heading down to the park. We are lucky there are about 6 to choose from within 5km from our house.....but I prefer the playgrounds WITHOUT swings as Carter will spend the entire time we are there sitting on the swing asking;

"PLEASE push me Mum! I'm serious, I promise!"

He is very serious these days, I'm just not so sure what about.

It's always a mixed bag of kids at the park. Some play alone, some play with the other kids there, some play well with others, and some.....not so much.

But more interesting than the variety of kids is the variety of 'park parents'.
Sometimes watching the parents is just as entertaining as watching the children.

There is the 'hovering parent' who follows their child (generally an only child) around the park, ensuring they are always within reach, often calling out:

"Wait for Mummy, wait for Mummy, don't run, watch out for the puddle, don't get dirt on your hands!"

The hovering parent is ridiculously over-prepared for a simple park trip with both jackets and an umbrella AND sunscreen and hats. If you manage to peek inside their bag, there will be enough food and water for 3 days, half their child's wardrobe, a first aid kit, every emergency contact, pepper spray, and a couple of flares.

There is the "invisible parent" who may as well not even be there. The park is their baby sitter while they read/chat on the phone/send emails/ stare blankly into space wondering how they got there. You can easily spot this parent by process of elimination. Whenever a child is calling out to their parent and every other parent is looking around for the owner of that child - simply look for the only adult who seems as though they don't hear that child and you have found your match!

There is the "adult child parent" who I particularly enjoy observing. This parent can be spotted trying to squeeze themselves through the tunnel slide whilst calling out:

"Isn't this fun! Come on - race me again, maybe you will finally win one!"

And of course there is the "social butterfly parent" who is at the park under the disguise of taking their child out for some fun but is really there for a social catch up. Once they are in the middle of some serious heavy gossip, an invisible impenetrable field suddenly appears blocking out all sound.
Children of "social butterfly parents" can be found hanging from the flying fox, mid way along the bar, calling for help for large periods of time.

Then there is the best parent of all. The one who had brought their children to play for the sole reason they are driving her completely nuts and she is going to go insane if they don't get out from under her feet THIS INSTANT. Once there they can be heard calling out:

"Hurry up and have fun!"

I'm serious, I promise.


  1. I will definitely be the adult child parent.

  2. All those parent styles you mentioned are actually backed up by research and I have certainly studied the different effects each has on their children. Loved how you put it. I can picture each of them in my head. Phil definitely is the adult child parent...minus the parent part. :)

  3. Wow I have never thought about any of this before. How observant you are Jo! It got me thinking and I have fallen into every one of those categories at one time or another over the years. Love you lots, Mum xxx