April 14th

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A few weeks back I was looking through old photos and I found all these pics of Sym out and about when she was Gwen’s age now, toddling around the neighborhood. I started to feel guilty that I don’t take Gwen out enough, so recently I’ve really been trying. It’s hard, because with Sym I wasn’t working at all, plus I’m exhausted all the time and on top of that I’m lazy. YES I ADMIT IT, I’M LAZY AND I’D RATHER STAY HOME THAN WANDER AROUND THE PARK. Oh and also we’ve had a lot of crap weather lately.

The weather was great this weekend though, so I made a real effort to get out of the house. It was kind of a bust, as Gwen is sick and crabby, but I TRIED. Mostly we just went to the park by our house, even though the playground there is a TOTAL WASTE (more on that below), but on Saturday morning I planned an excursion to a larger, better playground down in Yaletown. Well. Gwen HATED IT. Like she enjoyed the baby swing for about 5 seconds but other than that all she wanted to do was get picked up. She was all “Pick me up, pick me up!” and has no interest in climbing things or sliding down things or anything that isn’t getting picked up. Maybe she will have more fun if we go when she’s feeling better.

OK SO. THE STUPID PLAYGROUND BY MY HOUSE. A few years ago they renovated? re-landscaped? the park across the street. It used to just be a big open area with trees and benches and lawlessness. The entire park was off-leash, and was locally known as Dog Shit Park. There was also a lot of garbage everywhere, all the time. Now, the park is divided up- there is a fenced off-leash dog area at the southwest corner and a playground and water feature near the middle, with a larger open grassy area to the east. It’s great, BUT THAT PLAYGROUND.

I honestly don’t know what the city was thinking when they were like “oh yeah, what a great, practical and sure to get lots of use playground design!” It’s literally the dumbest thing ever. First of all, the playground is designed for children ages 5-12 (with a disclaimer that even children in that age group won’t be able to use parts of the structure). Great, except for idk if you know this about children ages 5-12, but they are in school all day. So the playground would really only get use afternoons/evenings, weekends and holidays, BUT IT DOESN’T, and here’s why: because it sucks. There are no swings, no real slide, just a bunch of weird shapes that you can climb up. And once you’ve climbed up you really only have two options: sit there, or climb down. That’s it. UGH IT IS SO BORING. No kids like it, so when they aren’t in school they still go use the playground at the school, which is much better AND IN THE SAME BLOCK. You can see it on the right in this picture. That’s the school with the better playground. IT’S RIGHT THERE.
So. Since school-aged children are either in school or uninterested in using this idiot play structure, the only people you ever see there are people with babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Yes, all children who are too young to use this dumb thing, even if there was something to do with it other than climb up; pause; climb down. Every time I see people there with little kids the same thing happens: the kids TRY to climb parts of the structure, are unable to, and resort to just sitting around, throwing woodchips at each other. WOW, SUCH PLAY, MUCH FUN. And this is only during school hours, when the good playground is closed to non-students- during non-school hours the younger kids all play at the school as well.
I was in the park with Gwen and one of her little friends (who is 2) on Friday, and the friend elected to sit on a bench and do nothing rather than try to play in the playground. SHE SAID SITTING ON A BENCH WAS MORE FUN. Personally I think they should scrap the whole structure and replace it with more traditional playground equipment that is at least partially suitable for children ages 1 1/2 to 4. It would get a lot more use as something other than a thing for drunk teenagers to fall off of and crack their skulls on (the #1 current activity for this structure)
She’s all “Where can I play?” lol no jk, she hates all playgrounds apparently.

4 Replies to “April 14th”

  1. COMPLAIN TO THE CITY about the playground. Just send them this blog. You are right about this—it is design for design’s sake and was probably the brain(?)child of some idiot with no children or experience of children who charged the City THOUSANDS. Offer to design one for ALL ages yourself. You would do a superlative job.

    1. lol well I’m not sure I have the required skillset to design playground equipment. I did complain and got a message back saying that there is no room in the budget for it but the person did agree that there was “room for improvement.”

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