Oh, the park. How I love thee, and your rolling green hills. Your trees, the only survivors of the unstoppable urban sprawl, provide shade from the hot afternoon, post-nap sun (or the drizzle if you live in the Pac NW). Your sandpit, with it’s lot of broken, discarded, plastic toys, is one of few places I can sit still while Baby 1.0 happily digs, piles and eats sand like she is one of those giant angry worms from Tremors. Your swings bring back the memories of the only way we could get our precious daughter to sleep for the first 7 months of her life. And your constant parade of playmates provide a welcome bit of socialization from what can otherwise be a bit of a lonely existence. But it’s not all sunshine and sidewalk chalk rainbows. Every once in a while, someone comes along and sullies the experience. So for you, the clueless, I present to you How Not To Be A Douche Canoe At The Park.
1. Don’t do drugs at the park. You see those tiny humans running around, all giggly, and squealing with delight? Unlike you, those tiny humans are not high. Those tiny humans are kids. These kids are pretty impressionable, in case you didn’t notice, and I think it would be better if they kept playing “Lava Monster” instead of needing to have their daycare teacher answer awkward questions about why you are staring so enviously at their rice cake.
2. While we’re on the topic, don’t sell drugs at the park. I thought this scenario was made up by D.A.R.E officers to give you an example of where you may encounter people to whom you could “Just Say No,” but it turns out people sell drugs at the park all the time. This is bad. Please don’t do this.
3. Pick up your dog poop. I think we can all agree poop is gross, and kids, much like dogs, are very curious about anything and everything that stands out as abnormal from it’s surroundings, i.e., a pile of brown poop on a swath of green grass. It’s a magnet for mayhem and flies alike. Pick it up.
4. Acknowledge other people. Look, I know stranger danger is a real thing, and the last thing you want to do is strike up a conversation with a weirdo. But if you see the same person 5 days a week, at the same park, with their child? Maybe just throw a nod their way now and again. Chances are they aren’t any more crazy than you are. And if you can’t bring yourself to acknowledge the adult, at least say something to the tiny person standing to your right saying “hi” over and over, like a broken Repeat Pete parrot.
5. Parent your kid. The park is supposed to be a fun place where kids can burn steam, so running, screaming, and being wild are to be expected. But when your kid crosses the threshold from “that will need a band-aid” to “that will need a body cast,” maybe step in to bring it down a notch?
6. Don’t bogart a high value play item, like the digger, for an unreasonable amount of time, like the whole month of March. Sharing is caring. Preach it, and teach it.
Anyone have anything else you’d like to add?