‘This playground is not designed for us’, I thought to myself.
We were at a very colorful, well equipped private playground. There were so many exciting things- A red car that you could sit in and have a friend or a parent push you, a little blue car that you could sit in and have a friend or a parent pull you (this one had a long purple handle attached to it), two little see saws, a small short slide slide, two swings, 2 big slides, play houses everywhere, a climbing ‘wall’ attached to a tree, a swinging bridge, and all on soft green AstroTurf. It was beautiful.
And it was not designed for us.
Kendi and I got there and as I was still figuring out what we could do, I gave her a cup of yoghurt to sip on. The time it took her to finish her drink, was the time it took me to come to this depressing conclusion.
The space only worked if you could support yourself on your own two feet with average to perfect balance. You need to be able to withstand or evade the somersaulting boys in the corner, the sliding girl coming down on her stomach, the preteen swinging way too high and the other little toddlers running around with their parents behind them.
You can’t be Kendi. You can’t be just learning how to walk without support. You can’t be less than confident in your balance. You can’t be 1 year old.
Also, your mother can’t be there by herself. Wait, I need to explain- Kendi finished her yoghurt and literally jumped off the bench to start playing. And by playing, I mean hold my hand and walk around pointing at things. We walked around for about 15 minutes; going into the playhouses (they are designed for a maximum of about 4 feet, so my friend Mumbi wouldn’t have any trouble but me and my almost 6 feet of height, just couldn’t do it without getting a massive back ache, as I do now), and out again, and in again, touching the swings, reaching out for the hanging bridge; basically interacting with the entire space. All with your long- suffering mother in tow. You need both parents so that they can take turns suffering so that you can ‘play’.
Surely, I need playgrounds that are only for crawling babies. Do they exist though? I find myself worried.