So because the weather here has been insanely warm (I have lilac buds coming out already!) Sena and I have been spending a lot of time outside. And a lot of time at the playground, which is only about a half mile from our house.
A few years ago the playground was completely renovated and they put in all these great jungle gyms and swings and slides and sculptures that look like Danish modern art but are really things for the kids to play on. Everything is brightly colored in yellow, red, blue and green. There is a rubberized path through the sand, no sharp corners, all the swing chains coated in rubber.
In short, it's really really safe.
And it's totally different from the playgrounds I remember.
I remember rusty swings, rusty monkey bars, rusty Merry-go-rounds (my God, those things were dangerous!) It was less like a Merry-go-round and more like a Puke-o-wheel. I remember hooking my legs around the bars and letting my head hang over the side as we spun like dervishes. If you were a total bad-ass you could impress the other kids by waiting until it was going as fast as possible and then run alongside and jump on.
I imagine it is exactly like hopping onto a moving train, because if you missed and fell underneath you were dead meat. That was the Merry-go-round -- kid practice to becoming an expert train-hopping hobo.
I wonder why Merry-go-rounds no longer exist?
The other thing I haven't seen in years is a Teeter-Totter, or as we called it, The Board-of-Pain.
Our Teeter-Totters were wood, so you had to be careful not to get a sliver stuck in your butt, and because I was a total beanpole as a kid, I always got stuck up high and my brother or whomever I was Teeter-tottering with would sit there and watch me with an evil smile as I pleaded and whined and threatened to get let down.
Then they would. By jumping off it. Then I would come crashing down to the ground. If you were lucky you could time it and catch yourself with minimal pain.
If you were lucky.
So I was thinking this as I watched Sena finally get up the gumption to go down the big, slow-moving, plastic slide by herself. (We had metal slides that turned to lava in the summer sun and seared the skin off the back of our thighs.)
She jumped off the edge of the slide and yelled, "I did it!"
I was so proud.
Then she tripped on the safe rubberized walkway climbing out of the sand and fell on her face.
I picked her up and dusted her off. "Are you okay?"
"I'm otay, Mommy."
About five minutes later I tripped on the rubber walk and almost fell on my face.
I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that's called irony.