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My Playground Pet Peeve

Erin Zammett Ruddy

There is one thing that truly drives me nuts when I’m at the park with my kids. Am I overreacting?

I took Nora to the playground on Wednesday and even though it’s the dead of winter and we were the only ones at our little beachside park, I wouldn’t let her do one thing. Because I don’t like it when other kids do it and I don’t want my kids to do it. Ever. And that is…drum roll, please…climbing up the slide. Slides are for sliding down. Period. I sound like a crazy person, right? I don’t know why it bothers me so much when kids do this but it does. And so I have made an atypical my-way-or-the-highway parenting stand with my kids that they are not, ever, allowed to climb up slides at public parks. If I see them do it, I will beeline from wherever I am to get them down and remind them how we do it (or don’t do it) in our family. Anyone else with me on this one?

I think my issue with slide climbing probably stems from when my kids were little and there’d be bigger kids running wildly through the park racing up the slide with their dirty feet just as my proud little toddler was about to go down (they’d also walk on top of the monkey bars, which baffles me to this day and if I ever saw one of my kids do that…ack!). It drove me nuts. Can’t we all agree not to climb up the slides when the little kids are around? Gheesh. (I would think this in my head, never say it out loud. I am not the mom that yells at other kids on the playground though sometimes I admire that mom.) Or maybe it’s my touch of OCD, my need for order, or maybe it’s my instinct to follow the rules (actually, scratch that, I’m not a huge rule follower). I don’t know exactly why but when kids climb up slides it irks me to no end. I’m sure some of you might think me uptight. You’ll want to call me names. You’ll say that I don’t get that kids need to be kids. Well I promise you, I am not a helicopter mom or someone with a whole lot of unbreakable rules for my kids (just ask Nick—it’s our issue du jour). And I don't take issue with other parents or their kids, only with mine. And only with this one thing, really. My kids have plenty of rule-bending fun, believe me. When they go down the slide, they can go head first, feet first, on their bellies, on their backs, I don’t care! So long as they use the $^#*!^% ladder to get back up.

So, what drives you nuts when you’re on the playground? Kids throwing sand? Moms not paying attention to their kids? Moms hovering over their kids? Anyone else irked by slide climbers? Let’s discuss! And happy, happy Friday. HOORAY!