Earlier this week I received a call from my friend Michael. Mike is a colleague of mine with two little kids, a boy and a girl born before and after Isobel. He’s one of the nicest guys on campus and his wife is the uber-talented lady who made this purse for me.
Mike and his wife Liz were arranging a tip to a local park with some other parents and kids we knew. Was I interested? Um. YES. I was so interested, in fact, that taking Isobel to that park to play and enjoy their water park equipment was on my life list. It would be more accurate to say I was ecstatic.
This park is in the older side of town, the side of town Anthony grew up on. Not exactly in the heart of the ghetto, but near it. The park is small and graced with mature shade trees and a reliable assortment of bums and drug activity. It also used to contain a tiny pool that was widely regarded a public bathroom. Eventually the pool was drained and abandoned and the park was left to its own, increasingly shady devices.
Recent years brought change to the park. The City decided to modernize it and bring children back to play beneath its lonesome trees. A play ground area was created and the nasty pool was replaced with a functional water park offering relief from 100+ degree weather to local kids who don’t have an air conditioner let alone a pool.
Now, I’m not usually always proud of our City. It’s done a lot of questionable, wasteful, and frankly, stupid things, but boy they got it right with this water park. Bringing families back has lead in a decrease of criminal activity and transients stay clear of the water and playground areas. You can still find them if you look, but children are safe there with supervision.
When the weather heats up kids flock to this park to play and splash in the water. I knew that one day we’d have a kid and we’d bring her to this park. I just didn’t know that day would come so soon.
Life list item accomplished! And holy cow, it was fun, more fun than should be had on a week day evening. Originally we planned on just Anthony and I suiting up the kid and taking her over there. Instead we went with four other families and an assortment of seven young kids ranging in age from four months to six years. Babies crawled on blankets while older kids splashed around. Parents relaxed and chatted. It was like a play date, barbecue, picnic and water day all rolled into one.
Isobel sat on my lap at first but after about 20 minutes decided, all by herself, to join the watery fun. She toddled near the sprinkler toys and giggled. She squealed. She screamed with happiness.
“Mama!” she said, “Agua!” She grinned in delight. The rest of the afternoon she kept repeating “Mama! Agua!” over and over and she toddled back and forth from the area where we set up our blankets and the water’s edge. She was fearless. She loved it and even though bigger kids splashed her right in the face several times she quickly got over her shock and went back for more.
Overall, this was even more fun than I could have imagined and we decided to make this a regular event among our friends. I can’t believe my luck that we have such a great (free!) water park, that we have such great friends, and that I have such an amazing, wonderful, courageous, and beautiful daughter.
After any adventure I like to come up with a list of things we’ll do differently next time:
- Isobel has this habit of pulling things out of any bag she sees, including her diaper bag. When we got to the park we realized that she removed her swimming suit bottoms from the diaper bag and left them somewhere in the living room. Oops. She wore her diaper with no liner instead. It worked just fine but the whole suit would have been cuter.
- Even though she had just eaten before we left all the playing, running, and keeping her body temperature up worked up an appetite fast. She was nearing a meltdown when we finally took her home. I would have felt a lot better if we had brought a pacha and snacks for us.
- We brought our trusty car blanket out to sit on but a larger blanket would have been more fun.
- Anthony and I got completely soaked running in to get Isobel when she was splashed. Next time we are wearing water-friendly outfits and towels.
- Money for the paletas man.
- Next time we are hella bringing my bestie’s family. Baby K would love this and so would his mom and dad.