The playground time is the most intriguing part of child rearing. On a grey day there seems to be absolutely no one else there at the playground and you follow your toddler around the emptiness out of duty. Unless your toddler is learning new skills, is trying to make continuous escapes through the gates to the drive through road or you have something interesting to think, this can be extremely tedious. Some of the other mothers on the playground have happily admitted how boring they find this whole business. You know that it is good for your child and they have to get fresh air and run freely but it can be mindbogglingly boring on those grey days when your toddler just wants to revisit the helter skelter again – and again.
On a sunny day, especially just after the end of the school day the playground and the park may be heaving. If there are any other children from the nursery, they normally giggle together or hug each other and then Number One Son and his best friends run amok. There are a series of regular mothers with whom I tend to chat about our common experiences. Often we compare notes on the local play groups or Children’s Centre activities. With some I tend to cover a more varied selection of topics ranging from politics to vegetarianism. Sadly, unless my friend who took part into solstice festivals at Stonehenge is present, we do not discuss archaeology.
Unlike the common perception, there seem to be quite a lot fathers on our playground. Is it the current economic situation or are the hands-on fathers like Archaeologist Husband more common than realized? I think the reasons are as many as are the childcare solutions. Many toddlers come to the park with their grandparents.