The park loses its shine

Like most families, we’ve always loved the park.

In our 20s, we lived a short walk from the main park in town. We used to walk round it every day even before we had children. When the boys came along, we liked nothing better than spending time with them there.

When we moved away from town, the park was still only a short drive away and we would while away many a happy hour there. We could spend four hours there without batting an eyelid – the swings, a picnic, back to the swings, feed the ducks, look at the animals, get an ice cream… Even two or three years ago it wouldn’t be unusual for us to go there several times a week during the school holidays. Sometimes with friends, sometimes with the grandparents, but usually just on our own.

But over the last year, the park has started to lose its shine. The boys are just too big for it. When we go there, they seem out of place. And if they’re not as happy, it doesn’t feel right for the rest of us. We don’t fit in there any more.

But my daughter still loves the park. Whatever time of year, whatever day of the week or time of day, you ask her what she wants to do and she will always want to go to that park.

On the last day of the Easter holidays, she was at a loose end. My younger son was at a friend’s house and Daddy was doing loads of DIY. We had nothing to do. I didn’t really want to go to the park, but I knew she would love it. So I offered to take her.

But it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t right with just the two of us.

The park was crazily crowded. There are only five swings for big kids and they were being hogged by unsupervised kids who weren’t getting off for ANYONE. And my daughter stood and waited politely while they all ignored her. Where were their parents? Many of them were younger than her. Why was I with my 8 year old, but 6 year olds were on the swings for hours without an adult nearby?

So we went to feed the ducks. I’d remembered the stale bread for once. Go, me!

But there were no ducks. Just a couple of greedy seagulls and lazy pigeons.

So I took her to do her absolute favourite thing in the park. Get an ice cream. Stocks of Smarties ice cream were very low, but she unearthed the last one. Thank the Lord.

She’d hoped to bump into her best friend, who lives close to the park and seems to be there all the time. But she wasn’t there.

So she went for a climb and a slide. It all felt so sad and wrong.

And just when she had her final slide, that slide that she wasn’t supposed to have, that slide after I’d told her to leave, A BIRD POOED ON MY HEAD.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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45 Comments

  1. Oh I know I shouldn’t laugh! But I did! Isn’t it supposed to be lucky or something haha

    The park is my LEAST favourite place to go. With swings and heights and water………..and 2 children who don’t see danger, I need eyes in my ass. I can appreciate the sadness you must feel though. A bit like an end of an era xxx

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    • It is the end of an era! I can understand why it wouldn’t be ideal for your family, but I’ve always loved it. (And feel free to laugh!)

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  2. I love the park to walk the dogs but pass all the little ones in the play area wondering where all those years have gone! My two will be 15 & 13 in the Summer! I have noticed my youngest loves going for walks with me and the dogs but not locally so the parks are a no no!

    There was me thinking I was a ‘hip’ Mum to be seen with 😉

    Still, I am still up for a sneaking go on the swing! 🙂

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    • I LOVE sneaking a go on the swing, but even my 8yo tells me to get off. It’s nice that your 13yo still likes to go for walks with you – even if you’re not allowed near the park!

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  3. Oh no. That is so funny. You should be shouting from the rooftops that there is no more park with all three children ha. But no, I know what you mean when these little things come to an end. X

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    • I loved that park though! I’m sad to see the back of it, but I just have to accept the kids are too big for it now 🙁 x

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  4. All good things must end, and even the bird poo seems poignant! Don’t like the idea of unsupervised 6yos, that’s way too young!

    I guess as kids become Tweens and Teens their interests change, and simple activities like going to the park become uncool *sigh*

    #ShareWithMe

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    • They certainly do, Mummy Tries! The bird poo was gross, but I couldn’t have come up with a better ending to this post if I’d tried!

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  5. Maybe the bird was claiming you so you come back? ;). I find the park is now only of interest to really young kids and then very old oaps that like to sit around and play boules. It never seems to be catered to young teens and Tweens anymore. Even the one near us that was has been broken down to let a new school be built.

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    • I think the bird was confirming it was time for us to leave! Everything is so safe these days (which is a good thing of course), it’s just not of interest to older kids. But it is a shame not to go there any more for fresh air and free entertainment.

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  6. Ha ha ha ha ha that bird was trying to tell you something! We rarely go to the park these days and if we do, my older two just hang off my every word and listen to me chatting with other mums. No fun for anyone! My son still quite enjoys it but I would only ever go with friends. Damn that pigeon!

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    • Horrible bird! It was definitely trying to tell me something! I’ve never got the hang of being sociable and going places with other families. We pretty much do everything on our own!

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  7. Oh this makes me sad! I’m approaching this stage rapidly too. I know in a few years my three will be too big for the park and, whilst I moan and complain a bit at the minute, I will really miss our wee times there. I guess moving on in any capacity is sad – how I wish we could pause time! Oh, and I hope the bird poo brings you lots of luck!! Xx #sharewithme

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    • Thanks, I hope the poo brings me luck too! I must say a couple of years back when we went every single day for a week it was driving me mad, but now I’m going to miss it. What else will we do in the holidays?

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  8. well bird poo is meant to be good luck isn’t it? 😉 I thankfully have a few more years of the park left, I love jumping on the swing myself 🙂 x #sharewithme

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    • I love the swing too!

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  9. Oh dear, well it is supposed to be good luck! I much prefer natural playgrounds like woods or generally anything outdoors that isn’t a playground to be honest. I think the children get so much more out of exploring and making their own play ideas than when it’s all put to them on a plate. Having said all of that, there are some really cool play areas out there that I try to sneak onto if I get the chance! But times change don’t they and our children change too.

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    • We don’t have any woods near us and I’m not a big fan of driving for more than a few minutes. I have never been a fan of soft play, which I’m sure is the work of the devil, but I’ve always liked the park.

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  10. Awww Kids dont half grow up quick dont they? My oldest is 9 and he refuses to do anything but play football in the park, going on a swing is just NOT cool!! (his words!) hes only 9, but he has no choice, as hes got 2 younger siblings haha

    Dont forget to put the Lottery on!… S**T for luck and all that lol x

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    • My boys will only play football or climb trees too.
      A lottery win would be fab!

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  11. Oh my gosh, I’m not laughing MUCH! 😉 What a great post, it’s sad how somethings just have a lifespan, like a favourite TV series. Sometimes it’s best to quit while all we have is good memories instead of bird poop 😉

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    • You’re allowed to laugh, Zena! You don’t really think about things having a lifespan until it’s nearly over 🙁

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  12. I was nodding my head with all of this – and then – the bird! I know I shouldn’t laugh…. We go through phases with the park. Milin loves it most of the time but hates it when it is really busy with big kids so we avoid it during holidays and after school is out. We get so much enjoyment from walks in the woods and I think that’s maybe more fun. BUT, baby Jasmin is just getting into the swings – so I can see the conflict arising with us too. xx

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    • Thanks! I was composing all those melancholy words in my head while we were there as it dawned on me our park days were over. I knew I wanted to write something, but wasn’t sure how it would end. So the bird did me a favour in a way by giving me the perfect punchline!

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  13. Oh, this is quite sad. It’s almost the end of an era for you guys. But, you have so many more exciting places to visit and I reckon when the kids get a bit older, they’ll remember the park with as much love as you do. xxx
    PS A bird dumped on your head??????
    #sharewithme

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    • Yep, it genuinely dumped on my head! 🙁

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  14. Lucas says – Ha! A bird pooed on your head……….
    Grace says – Lucas, don be rude!!! This was very sweet and I hope your family always remember their park xxx
    #sharewithme

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    • Thank you, Grace! And I’m not surprised you’re laughing Lucas! x

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  15. Oh, I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t laugh! But, in all seriousness, I guess it has to happen doesn’t it? There are already some parks that I have to stop my almost 8yo from doing things so that he doesn’t risk bumping a smaller child 🙁 It will be a while before we don’t go to the park, but I can see how it is one of those things that gradually changes x #ShareWithMe

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    • It does have to change, but it is sad. It’s been quite a few years since I realised my boys were the biggest kids there and now even my daughter is too big 🙁

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  16. My kids still love the park but then the eldest is only 4 and a half! I just hope that when the shine wears off they will be old enough to entertain themselves in some other way! X #sharewithme

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    • If most tweens are anything to go by, sadly that will probably include an Xbox!

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    • The bird most definitely did 🙁

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  17. Not your park day me thinks. Parks are a bit stressful for me too when theres lots of kids w/o moms or the moms are so far talking to other moms. I tend to not stay anymore as I know we wont have a chance in there at all wiht my son being so small. We just try other places and we are lucky enough to be near everything including the beach & high street =) Hopefully your next park venture will be better =) #pocolo

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  18. Funnily enough, Sissyboo was telling me repeatedly yesterday how lucky bird poo in your hair was. It’s sad you’re saying goodbye to parks. Why not make yourself feel better by a late night swing on your own!

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  19. It’s sad when our kids are too old for the park and we no longer get to spend this much-loved time outdoors with them. Fortunately I still manage to bribe my 2 with the promise of cake, or ice-cream after a walk which is better than staying indoors!

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  20. Lol that was funny! My two love going to the park, your never too old to have fun at the park, I still love the swing #pocolo x

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  21. My eldest is like this- just in between stuff. She loves more daring things like zip wires etc but not many parks cater for older kids. Its such a shame as she still loves to play!
    #ShareWithMe
    x x

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  22. Oh Sarah, I was just reading all serious, then laughed too 🙂 sorry I have this poo vision now… I still have park visit but mostly when I take my daughter out for a jog and she wants to stop for 10 minutes .. they grow up to quickly…

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  23. Here is the thing, I used to take my kids to a particular park from the time that they were born until they were 7 and 8. We used to walk down there and then walk back and stop at the little library near the house. Then I moved and we never went there again. Last Christmas Eve, (after about ten years) we were driving in that area and both kids (now almost adults) wanted to stop by that park. They remembered everything about our trips there. It was amazing.

    All I am saying is that the park will create memories for the kids.

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  24. This post is so poignant – we are properly still in Park Life but can see how sad it is when one child or more grow out of it. But ha ha to the bird poo! A great end to a great post!

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  25. oh dear Sarah!! i know what you mean though, when Beth got to about 8 we just didnt click with it anymore it was like the unwritten rule that her time here had finished

    thanks for linking up with #PoCoLo x

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  26. Oh no! I dread the day when the park is no longer the right place for us, but I fear it will come soon as L is already 7, but I have no idea what I’ll do then with the 6 year age gap between our girls! Count the bird pooling on your head as good luck – always look on the bright side and all that 😉

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  27. Oh no, we are still very much loving the park at the moment, the little ones always want to go. I don’t want to think of the day when they don’t want to go anymore! #sharewithme

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