Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Change Will Do You Good

The last few days have been tough weatherwise. Unless you're lucky enough to live in some enviably sunny spot of the world, or are able to adequately entertain little people inside because you live in a gym or something, you'll know what I'm talking about. If not now, then at some point during the winter months.

I know there are probably people who are good parents and caregivers who don't take their children outside for running, screaming, and generally releasing of pent up energy, but I cannot imagine how. Especially with preschoolers. The bounce house, although a great rescue sometimes, isn't always up to the task for yet another day.

So despite the fact that Happy Meals are not the most nutritious dining option, and the toys in them any more are junk, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and go to the McDonald's Play Place. Granted, I would try another option if there were one close by, but you go with what you've got.

It is beyond me why all the government funded, public recreation for children in my area has to 1)be outside or 2)involve a team sport. There is no such thing as an indoor playground, except for the one at McDonald's. Out of all the big, government buildings with large unused areas of space, no one has ever considered a bit of indoor recreation for the little people. What a waste.

So when I felt at my wit's end before my little people even arrived the other day, I called their mom and said let's meet at McDonald's. We all needed some play time.

Last winter we spent a lot of enjoyable Friday afternoons on the indoor playground. E2 was too small (she's still technically too young) to go through all of the different levels by herself. Since parents are allowed inside, although I can count on one finger the number of parents I've ever seen inside (and that was at a birthday party), we all played. I helped E2 up the steps and onto the different levels. We came down the slide like a bobsled team, with my legs as the sled. It was loads of fun for everyone.

I wasn't sure how it was going to play out with E3 joining the ranks, but I figured we'd cross that bridge when we came to it.

The bigger girls stormed the playground like a fortress in need of toppling. They had to be called back down the stairs to remove their boots and coats because they were just too eager to get going. Before baby and I had our things settled, E2 was popping out the end of the slide -- she'd grown taller over the summer and didn't need Ma's help.

After just a minute or two in the role of spectators, E3 and I decided to enter the fray. Ma got her workout for the day, let me tell you. E3 is weighing in at about 20 pounds, and I lugged her up the stairs like a mama chimp toting her baby. She was delighted with the views and the tunnels. The bigger girls crawled over and around her as they made their mad way around and around. Screaming was allowed, even encouraged, as long as it didn't get too out of hand.

The other children who came through while we were there initially gave me a funny look, but after our first meeting pretty much let it go. I was delighted that the girls remembered to ask the names of their playmates, and when the first little girl encountered the baby and knew her name, I figured they had introduced themselves as well.

We played for an hour before we took a potty break and had lunch. It was another hour before we loaded up and headed home. E3 was asleep in her car seat before I got her in the car and neither of the other two made it home awake, although both woke and then went back to sleep after we got home.

Other than a bit of ache in my shoulders (yes, I'm pretty sure it had to do with E3, because we made at least three trips through the playground, even though we mainly sat in the treehouse portion and played), even I felt better after the outing.

So once again I have to remind myself that the extra effort is worth it, not only for the sanity of little people, but for me. Sure, it would be easier and cheaper to stay home, but sometimes that just isn't the best choice. Like a lot of things in life, from socializing with friends to exercising, a little effort can carry a tremendous reward and make everyone involved feel better about life. Like my earlier discovery about having fun with adult friends, it shouldn't come as a surprise to me. (And yes, we've been socializing regularly with adults and enjoying it tremendously.)

Looks like, new little sister or not, to survive the winter we're going to have to resume some sort of outing schedule. Maybe the weather will allow us more options than McDonald's, but I think we'll take what we can get and have fun with it. I think that applies to more than just a Ma and three Es as well. Sometimes, a bit of change does everybody a lot of good.

No comments:

Post a Comment