It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Getting my groove back

I am so out of the park groove, it’s sad. Truly sad.

Even though it’s been the mildest winter I can recall, ever, in my whole life — and you know, that’s not such an insignificant number of winters — it’s still been a long time since fall. A long time since near-daily trips to the park. A long time to get out of practice.

Take this morning. Where a few short looooong, dark, chilly months ago, it would have taken me a mere 40 minutes to get us out the door and into the stroller, today…

Well, let’s see. There is a certain degree of autonomy this spring which was lacking last fall. Some of the children can get into their own shoes and jackets. So that’s good.

The stroller was ready in the drive, with, given the cloudy skies, the rainshield in place. The bag of sand toys had been unearthed from its winter storage in the back porch, and sat on the kitchen floor.

I had those kids dressed, out the door, and into the stroller in TWENTY MINUTES.

Impressive, no?


We get to the park and discover…

the sand toys are still in their bag on the kitchen floor…

I have only one spare diaper in the stroller, and no wipes…

Because I forgot to pack the ‘outing backpack’.

I DID remember the box of tissues,

but I forgot the water bottles.

Since my cell phone, which doubles as a timepiece, is defunct at the moment, I’ve taken to carrying a watch…

only not this morning.

So I had NO IDEA what time it was. (Where was everyone else? Dunno. Frightened off by the grey skies, I guess, but the forecast was for less than a mm of rain. Pfft.)

So I had NO IDEA what time it was… which, because we have to be home when the kindergarten bus drops Emily, I need to know… and so we ended up leaving the park much earlier than we would otherwise…

which ended up being a good thing, since I’d also forgotten the snack.


Oh, well. We got out, we romped for a bit, we came home. We didn’t get as long as we might have, but we did spend enough time to carry home the three cups of sand they dumped out on my front hall carpet…

because I forgot to empty their shoes while still at the park.

Normally I sit them all on a bench, and go down the row, not just emptying their shoes, but also peeling off their socks and beating them (the socks, relax) against the side of the bench to remove the ton of sand also in the socks. And then I put the socks and the shoes back on. Oh, and I also empty out the cuffs of any folded-up pants while I’m at it, and sometimes even check pockets, depending on placement of pockets.

(If this seems cumbersome to you, you’ve obviously never had the accumulated grit from five toddlers strewn around your home. That’s a LOT of grit. Strewn on floors, abrading furniture, turning sheets to sandpaper… it’s worse than glitter, more destructive, and not nearly as pretty.)

Only I didn’t do any of that today, so I’ll be sweeping and dusting and shaking sand out of sheets for the next day and a half. Sigh…

It’s lovely to get out every day. It’ll be even lovelier when I get my shit together groove back.

April 7, 2010 - Posted by | outings, the dark side | , , ,


  1. Routine. Toddlers thrive on it. Adults thrive on it. You’ll be back in the park routine in no time now you’ve had the incentive of a day where the routine wasn’t followed!

    I hope the sun shines on your mojo soon.

    I was thinking the same thing. The sandtoys need to be in the bucket of the stroller, the outing backpack fully loaded and put on the hook by the door… all thouse routines that ensure I don’t have to remember all this stuff. Which, given my memory, is a very good thing!

    Comment by Maisy | April 7, 2010 | Reply

  2. don’t forget the sunscreen!

    Sunscreen goes in the outing backpack! Though I don’t put sunscreen on in the mornings – their parents do that before they arrive. (Which reminds me: I need to remind them of their part in the park routines!)

    Comment by Dana | April 7, 2010 | Reply

  3. Think of that as the practice run, so when the park is full of kids and caregivers you’ll be the one all prepared for things they’ve forgotten!

    I like it. Good thought.

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | April 7, 2010 | Reply

  4. Yes, that was your Hudson Bay start so hooray for having done it already!

    Comment by Sarah | April 7, 2010 | Reply

  5. Consider this your trail run for the season.. it will only get better. I don’t blame you a bit for the “sand check”. I live in a small farming city and some of the best parks are a 30 to 45 minute drive away. There is one park that the children LOVE to go to. Of course, everything is placed around or in the sand (including the swing set). The first time I took the children there I didn’t even think about all that sand in their shoes. I spent a week cleaning car seats and my van. I have a special check list for when we go to that park and my husband calls to remind me to check everything twice. We keep our shoe bucket in the back to throw shoes/socks in until we get back to my house.

    Comment by Theresa | April 7, 2010 | Reply

  6. I still always forget to empty the shoes. We have a sandy carpet, too. When I remember, I make them take their shoes off on the front step, but it seems a bit antisocial as it’s right on the pavement. Ah well, I shall just have to learn, too.

    Comment by Mwa | April 7, 2010 | Reply

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