Friday, April 29, 2011

Top Ten Unwritten Rules of the Playground

Here's the thing about the playground: Schmidt happens.  So we've come up with some rules for making the most of the time when your kids get to run around, make too much noise and wear themselves out so that maybe, possibly - they'll go to bed early.  It's OK to dream the impossible dream - it could happen.

10. There will be playground disputes.  Settling such skirmishes can be touchy.  If there's problem between two kids, the one who's crying is generally acknowledged as the de-facto victim. Even if he's the kid holding the tree branch like it's a baseball bat.

9. Mommies are only responsible for providing snacks for their own offspring.  Do not provide vittles for strange children no matter how pitiful and Oliver Twist-y they are.  They might have food allergies or actually be Gremlins who must not be fed fruit roll-ups after midnight or given juice boxes.

8. It is perfectly acceptable to parent other people's kids if they are creating an "imminent harm" situation.  But if you start to helicopter random shorties on the playground, you're going to get told off by a mom who doesn't appreciate your interference.  It's a slippery slope people, use The Force on this one. 

7. If your kid is on the little merry-go-round ride, you. have. to. push. Why is it that the kid that spends two straight hours on that ride has the mom who is sitting across the park with a Skinny Latte? My left arm is starting to look like Popeye's, and just as soon as my kid gets off the ride, I'm gonna come over there and treat you like a can of spinach. 

We know it's totally inappropriate.
It's also totally awesome.
6. Slides are easy -- all it requires is one tiny heinie and gravity. Sit. Go down. No feet, no dirt, no climbing up the slide, no acting like a New York City nightclub bouncer at the top of the ladder. 1. Sit. 2. Go down.

5. Your dog is adorable. Though slightly less adorable when you let it off the leash and it knocks my kid over. And even less appealing when it takes care of business and you pretend not to notice. Clean it up or you're gonna find it in your purse.

4. Please share the swing. There's usually only -- what? -- maybe six of them? That means you have to share. Don't make Mommy use the weird-hissing-I'm-not-yelling-at-you-in-public voice to try and coerce you into doing the right thing.  Also? Don't walk in front of the swings unless you want a traumatic brain injury.

Oh right. This one is MUCH worse.
 3. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Don't throw sand. Also? Don't throw mulch.

2.  The water fountain is for -- gasp! -- drinking water. It's not a weapon, a toy or the site of a future Woodstock. Please stop trying to create a muddy mosh pit, because all you're doing is giving my toddler one more opportunity to be filthy within nine seconds of arriving.

1. If you say you're bored, we leave. Immediately.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011


  1. my kids don't even go to the playground anymore and I love love love this! Especially adore the pictures. Bahahahaha!

  2. Those pictures can't be real.............or can they. Guess there are "fails" everywhere and we are in fact not alone!

  3. 11. If you are going to smoke a cigarette, please take your nicotine puffin' butt and go far, far away from the playground. Far enough so that if the wind blows in the direction of the playground we wont smell your nasty smoke. Thankyouverymuch.

  4. Love the playground rules. What is your call on pushing kids (other than your own offspring) on the swings? I can muster enough energy to get my butt up off the bench, put my nook down, and push my daughter on the swing. But when another little cherub asks me to push her too, I say, go get your mommy or daddy.

  5. AWESOME post, as always.
    12. If you MUST take a call, do not turn your back on the playground so you can hear better. Your child WILL fall down and it's pathetic to hear you complain that they are "faking it" when they cry "just to get your attention". Seriously people. The playground is not a daycare.

  6. 12. Please don't have loud cell phone conversations about the trollup that your baby daddy is forking in front of all the children on the playground. And please don't go into detail about said forking that you walked in on either. I don't want my kid to ask me about the number that comes after 68!!

  7. People have looked offended at me for diving between their unleashed dogs and my kids. They say something like, "oh YOU don't need to worry. He loves kids." Listen irresponsible pet owner, my kids are both highly allergic to your canine, and I don't want to spend the afternoon in urgent care because you're too much of a douche to use a leash at the park. :)

  8. I agree with Katie!! Even my kids say how gross and unhealthy it is, and my 4 year old wants to know why ppl do it if it makes them sick.

  9. Here's another: Don't swear within earshot of all these impressionable little people, or I might just have to throw sand in your f-in face. :-)

  10. One of our local parks has a sign that contains two 'rules'.
    Number one is not problematic, but what do you do with the second?

    1. No pets
    2. Keep off the grass.

    I have photo documentation of said park... it's too much!

  11. That graffiti is INSPIRED. By what disease exactly, I'm not sure. But it's inspired, allright. ;)

  12. no way. The second my kids were old enough, they learned to push themselves, and pump their legs. The idea is for them to play and get excercise, not Mommy.

  13. Fantastic, except that #7 is for all patsies except this one. Merry Go Round rides, like the rest of the equipment, are designed for children and drunken frat brothers, not grown-ups. If you have a toddler and must supervise, or are an exercise fanatic, or are actually not hung over, by all means knock yourself out. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy your latte and Excedrin and let the younguns do the work. That kid you're pushing on the ride for two hours? He knows a newbie when he sees one.

  14. Here are mine - You may want your child to be unable to climb a ladder or go down a slide unaided when they're 10, but keep your hovering to your own kids. And don't give me the evil eye for choosing not to hover, harrass or otherwise rescue my kids at every turn. Believe it or not, I want my kids to learn to get themselves out of jams and I already decided that a 2 foot drop onto a padded surface would be a great lesson for them.

  15. These are AWESOME. I flippin' hate parenting other people's kids at the playground. Though last summer I was TOTALLY guilty of having other moms push or bounce my daughter on playground stuff...but only because I was frantically and awkwardly nursing my howling newborn on a nearby bench. I once thanked a helpful mom so many times I just burst into tears. I was so grateful and brimming with postpartum hormones. Dang, should have bought her a Starbucks.

  16. Here's another.. Ok, do you see the sign on this side of the play ground that says for children 5 and under? This means that your rough housing 11 year old that decided it was a good idea to NOT so gently push my toddler down the slide before he was ready..SHOULD NOT BE HERE! There's a WHOLE other section and multiple balls fields for your big kid! I don't understand why your offended but the fact I asked him to get away from my kid..and the tot ground! Just like you prefer I not reprimand your kid..i would prefer if you did!

  17. To Al Carbon, V.J.J. is a colloquialism for a certain female part, popularized by the famous Oprah when talking to Dr. Oz! Very creative indeed!

  18. OMG, that's my playground! The MyVaJ.J. ByrneZ Playground. Brooklyn, NYC, bay-BEE... so proud!

    And these are great rules. They should be posted in every park.

  19. I'm not sure that #2 is reasonable. My son was always attracted to water and/or mud in any form and to be honest, still is at age 10! After all, kids are washable and I wouldn't have mine in fancy clothes at the park anyway.

  20. RJ says:
    LOL. Love it, but fully DISagree with #7. I don't have to push the merry-go-round. The point of the park is to wear them out, NOT me. If you so choose to push that thing- that would be your own damn problem. ;-)

    I would add- If my 6 year old boy and his buddies are pushing the thing already at 700 miles per hour, don't trot your dainty little toddler over and expect to stop the action. Just sayin'.

    Same for the swing.. Don't give me "that look" b/c I am not pushing my 1st grader on the swing when he is screaming at me to do it. He KNOWS how to pump. Ok, I'm done (for now). lol

  21. Good list! Just saw a smug young mom today giggling with unmitigated delight as her 3-year-old wielded a big pointed stick at other kids on the play structure. Newbie. I'm guessing he's charming as he runs with a lollipop in his mouth waving meat scissors, too.

  22. how about, "no bikes" and "running under the swing doesn't make you as awesome as you think it does... especially if you run square into ME because hey,, this playground isn't that big, oh, and can you tell your buddy to stop texting and tell his kid to quit riding his bike around ON the playground? There are bike paths right. there. I also cannot stand it when bigger kids come in and terrorize a littler-kid playground. I expect it when I take them to the main playground, but the one I like to go to has separate areas, and all the fun stuff is over there so whyyy do you need to be here running and jumping and climbing and bothering a bunch of freaking toddlers?? Oh and you can't yell to their mom, cuz their mom just dropped them off so she could run errands.

  23. I've actually lost my schmidt on a playground before and embarrassed the hell out of two moms, who of course had their backs turned on their little hoodlums reign of terror over the tot lot.




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