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Overheard at a park:

Two boys, about 8 years old, maybe, are playing near by.
The first boy asks, “Hey, why isn’t Michael talking to me?”
“I dunno. He’s mad at you, I guess.”
“Why?”
The other boy shrugs.
The first boy says, “I mean, I didn’t do anything. I only called him a faggot.”
“What does that mean? Is that a bad word?”
“No. It doesn’t mean anything.”
The other boy looks at him doubtfully.
“It doesn’t mean anything!”

Kids are hurting each other with words they don’t even understand. I’m glad they’re too young to really understand the meaning most people ascribe to that word, but I’m bummed that kid not only heard it, and knew it was an insult of some kind, but then chose to pass the insult on while fighting with his friend.

~ ~ ~

Homer and I were playing by ourselves at another park one day, going from this cool little house area in the sand pit, to the big slides, then back to the sand area. As we passed a group of boys, I overheard them talking. Three boys were sitting, and one boy was standing. One of the sitting boys said to the boy standing, in a very snotty tone, “You can’t sit here with us. There isn’t enough room! You’re not even our friend, anyway!”

And before I knew it, the words came spilling out of my mouth before I’d even thought of what to say. “Hey! You need to be nice,” I said. “You can play together. It’s okay to make new friends!”

I don’t know if it’s the mom in me, the former field trip teacher, or being the “new kids” in town ourselves, but I just couldn’t let that go. And I’m glad, because after Homer and I walked away, I looked back, and all four boys were playing together.

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~ ~ ~

We were all having a lot of fun at the park. The wind whipping around turned all our cheeks red, and I had my hands stuffed in my pockets to keep them warm. Homer seemed warm enough in his two jackets, though his hands felt freezing when I held them. The sun was shining, but that didn’t quite explain why so many people were in short sleeves, or why their kids were, or why one lady was in a tank top! Then I heard her say something to a young boy, who was wearing an oversized jacket, and realized she must have passed hers to her son. It just struck me as funny the number of people who thought the sun shining meant it was short sleeve weather. The thermometer in my car read 55 degrees!

One little girl in short sleeves seemed to be having a great time. Homer was too. He climbed up the ladders and slid down the slides over and over. The little girl ran around and almost bumped into me, and stopped dead in her tracks, just looking at me. “Hi,” I said with a smile, and she smiled big and kept running. I kept walking, over by where she had just been, on the smaller slide and saw two rather large puddles, where previously there had been none. I looked back at the girl in short sleeves running around, the inner portion of her dark wash blue jeans slightly darker than the rest. I took Homer’s hand and lead him away from there over to where Joe was standing. “That little girl just peed on that slide,” I said to Joe.

GROSS.

It’s all fun and games until someone pees on the slide!!!

Her parents intercepted her as they came up to talk to her, and I guess they figured it out pretty quickly, because they all went into the restrooms together.

On the drive home, I said I didn’t want to go back to that park until AFTER the next big rain storm. Luckily, I knew one of those was right around the corner!

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(NOT the pee slide)

~ ~ ~

We’ve been checking out a bunch of play centers, and I was SO happy to find not one, but two, awesome squishy play centers, much like the one at the Thousand Oaks mall back home. The one at the Super Mall was great. The Super Mall is a crazy place, by the way. We didn’t know what to expect really. We’d heard about it. We knew it had Super in the name… What I didn’t expect was so many street signs guiding us there! It had its own sign next to the freeway signs! One sign said the name of the freeway, and next to it, an enormous sign that said SUPER MALL with an arrow pointing down. We stayed in that lane, which turned into a huge ramp, winding around a curve until we were at the mall. It’s a nice mall, but has a lot of construction going on, and for a minute, looked like it wasn’t even open. But it was, and it’s pretty nice inside! The play area is really cute, mostly forest themed. They have a very similar tree-slide as the Thousand Oaks mall, as well as a little raft/boat, a fish to sit and climb on, two giant off-roading trucks to climb and slide down. Everything is made of that squishy rubbery climbing material. And check it out, we haven’t even been here a month, and my baby’s already scaled Mt. Rainier! ~ ~

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Of course, it’s all fun and games until someone barfs on Mt. Rainier. That was a sad day! (I’m just glad it wasn’t Homer!)

They also have those wall puzzles that most play yards have. Homer loves one of them so much, and spent a really long time at it, figuring out how to maneuver the little red balls along the pathways, rotating circles to put them on different pathways. It is super cool, and it’s fun that he enjoys it so much!

There’s another squishy playground at Bellevue Square mall, too, called Kids’ Cove. The only dangerous thing about that playground is the AMAZING cupcake shop right next to it!

I love the theme of it, decorated like the Puget Sound. There are prints of water on the squishy flooring. Then the squishy things you can climb include two large boats, one printed with Meydenbauer, after the real Meydenbauer shipping boats around here locally. Then there is a small boat, some rocky things, one with a seal, one with a crab, one with a pelican. Another rock one is a slide! There is a giant sand castle, too, which is also a slide. It’s pretty great! The few times we’ve been here, it has been packed, but all the kids were having a tremendously fun time, and the parents seemed pretty happy too. After seeing a few less impressive play areas in malls, I was SO excited to find this. Weirdly and very unexpectedly, it made this area feel like home. Who knew I’d find that in a squishy play yard? We’ll definitely be spending a lot of time there, I’m sure!

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October 2014

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