Thursday, December 6, 2012

Where have all the teeter totters gone?

They have been replaced by this springy thing that has about 6 inches of play in it. Maybe toddlers are amused by this but older kids become quickly bored.Gone are the days where you suddenly can fly 4 feet in the sky but then your teeter totter partner suddenly gets bored, jumps off and you go crashing into the ground.

Oliver is too old to enjoy sitting on this. Even Danny is bored.
Playgrounds are places that kids can experience heights and speed on their own terms. Recently there has been discussion on whether playgrounds  are now too safe to be fun. Slides are now designed such that the child slows down significantly before the bottom. Litigation has been responsible for the dumbing down of playgrounds. Your child got hurt? Sue the city.

Will we have a generation of people afraid of heights and speed now?

Well I am still a playground chicken despite much exposure to all this 'dangerous' equipment as a child. I was super, super cautious enduring the scorn of my peers. I'd climb up to the top of the slide, look down and panic. If I couldn't convince everyone backed up behind me to get off the ladder so I could safely climb back down, I'd go down the slide slowly with my heels and hands braking the entire way. Impatient kids would end up spearing me with their feet in my back.

On the chopping block: monkey bars. When I was 8 or 9, the cool girls would put their coat on the bar and then spin around and around in a tight circle. I tried this once: I got dizzy. Plus I was so large and inflexible, it was hard for me to form the tight circle needed to clear the ground. I wouldn't jump off swings either like the cool kids. (I don't jump off anything; it seems to hurt my ankles more than it hurts other peoples') I was suspicious of backyard swingsets that were not firmly planted as I thought the entire swingset would topple over if I swung too high.

As an adult, I tried to deal with my fear of height and speed by carefully controlling the situation. I would practice going downhill (with no one to witness this) on X-country skis without snowplowing. I try not to brake biking down hills. In bike races, I was able to put aside my fears for the most part as I wanted to do well so badly. I gamely went up one of those Mayan pyramids but then looked down; what was I thinking? My legs hurt for days afterwards as I was so tense trying to go down 1000 year old limestone blocks carefully.

Still it is a thrill with the wind rushing against my body dropping hundreds of feet in a short time such as on that hill outside of Lewiston on my bike ride up north this summer.

After much going back and forth, we have a date and time for our Mom's X-mas party at my house. Still need to get a tree. Now that all my grandbabies are here, I want to have a nice X-mas for them. Steve is resistant and crabby though.

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