Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 2: BigToy Playground

I woke up today with a headache, but strangely, looked forward to the playground this afternoon. I admit I rarely do anything good for me. I take care of the family, yes, but my time is limited when the kids are not here. The last thing I want to do is go out running or to the gym...simply because I have things to do. I'm lowest on the totem pole. Okay, maybe it's not just the time and totem pole issue. Maybe I just don't like the word "exercise." Okay. There, I said it. I actually feel a little better.

My kids have no idea they are exercising. They just play. All the time. They have fun and stay in shape while they're at. Today, I'm happy to report, I did the same thing. I played. I got exercise, and for the most part, had fun.

I pick up my son and instead of him asking to go to a playground and me saying no, or perhaps me saying yes, but only because he's asked so many times and I'm feeling guilty, today, I'm proactive. I surprise him. I pack a picnic, and when he gets in the car I say, "Do you want to go a playground?"

He's quiet a second, maybe thinking it's a trick. "Yeah!"

"Which one?"

"BigToy," he says. Hmmm. It is a ways away, and I consider the time it will take, and the fact that it will be two dollars to get in, but my boy asked for BigToy Playground, and by golly, that's where we're going!

BigToy is huge and has big things to play on. Beautiful trees, nestled along a green swamp. We find a picnic table and dig in. I finish first. I'm a fast eater. So while waiting, I look at the picnic table. What can I do with this? Push ups. I move to an incline and do push ups on the bench. 13 total. Not too easy, not too hard. I hope to be able to do more soon. This is the least fun part. Seems too exercise-y. Next, step ups on the bench, 10 on each side. I'm starting slow :)

My son walks along this border where you can fall down a few feet on one side. I follow. I'm like the Karate Kid. My 5-year-old son is Mr. Miyagi. Wax on, wax off. He's like my personal re-trainer. He's in great shape, has the time of his life. I have a lot to learn from this kid.

I balance along the border and actually skip back to the picnic table like my son. He's curious now. I have him take some photos of me. "Mommy exercising." How did he know it was exercising and not playing? Duh. Because Mommy always exercises and rarely plays. We'll see about that.

After his lunch is done, he runs to the climbing wall. Yes. A climbing wall. I have a fear of heights. This never entered into my mind when I thought about playing on a playground. I have to conquer this fear too? He shimmies up and then I follow. Make a lot of weird noises, "Oh, this is high. This is very, very high. whoa, now." The adolescent at the top looks at me like I'm a Martian. For a second, I feel funny being up here, but then I realize this kid is twice my size and weight. I have every right to be up here WITH MY SON, thank you very much.

Height issue conquered for now.

Then my son goes down this corkscrew thing. So I go down the corkscrew thing. It's twisty and surprisingly fun. I almost don't want it to end. Almost.

I proceed to follow my son back up another way and then down the long slide. I make a loud clunk noise at the bottom and catch the attention of a little boy, a woman and her mother. They look at me like I'm crazy. Son climbs up some bars again so up I go, too, struggling. They watch me. "I don't want to be too big," I explain feebly, "and I don't want to be too old for this." The older woman says, "Oh, well, I accepted that a while ago."

Not me. Not yet.

I tell these ladies I'm doing this for 91 days, 91 playgrounds. "Ninety-one playgrounds! Different ones?" No, not different. Just playgrounds. Play. Everyday.

Truly a spectacle now, following my son, doing whatever he does, I take my wedding rings off, stick them in my pocket, ask my son to hold the camera, and I grab those monkey bars. I grab them with wild abandon and by golly, I conquer them! Well, five bars, anyway. Not quite to the end.

But it's a start. And my headache eventually leaves without getting that mid-day Starbucks like I normally do. And I'm having fun with my son. Real fun.

Well played, I think. Well done.

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