Happy Hour at the Gard residence is officially beginning. It is that time of the night when mama bear can let her hair down, exhale a whole lot of hot air and cut loose on the computer while the little cubs hibernate in their little dens. There are no thankfully no audible sounds coming from the nether-regions of the furnace room (a.k.a. upstairs) where we corral our kiddos from 8:00 p.m. until morning. Although brief minutes ago, World War III nearly broke out over Little One’s musical selections and Oldest One’s statistics that state “anyone who listens to music as they fall asleep at night gets 90% less sleep than those who don’t.” So, for the sake of keeping the peace, both are now sleeping inside ovens with the doors shut and music turned down low. I’m sure the hot, humid, stale air must feel good in both their rooms right about now.
Today was… interesting. Staff and students from our school went to the “fun” park…The Mill River Fun Park. It is a childhood fantasy land with bumper boats, waterslides, a sea of balls, playground equipment and a hamster wheel, among other things. For kids, it is a good time had by all. For parents and teachers, it is a danger zone complete with rusted-out, rickety water slides, one washroom to currently serve hundreds of people, renovations that sit squarely in the middle of the park and uneven patio walking stones leading like a maze hither, thither and yon all over the park. Did I mention the tree roots that show up nearly everywhere serving to slow our children down by way of tripping them every time they run towards a slide or set of monkey bars? When they describe it as a “fun” park, what they really mean to describe it as the “run” park because kids run and fall and skin their knees everywhere humanly possible inside this park. No matter how many times you tell your little ones to walk, they are compelled by unseen forces to run everywhere they go. It has not been a successful, ‘fun’ day at the Fun Park if your child leaves without a bandaid on their skinned and bloody little knees.
As I was sitting below the Aqua Rage watching children plummet out of the sky on little more than a crazy carpet, I realize that try as I might to ensure all my little students are following the “one-at-a-time” rule for the hamster wheel or the “no- one- over- five” rule for the Sea of Balls, there is no rule indicating safety standards for this death trap. I watch in horror as one of my boys flies down the 90 degree incline like a stone falling from a skyscraper. And I breathe a sigh of relief when he emerges fully intact at the bottom and I can again tuck emergency contact info safely back into my shoulder bag.
It has indeed been a ‘fun’ day at the Fun Park.