Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

A Mother's Dilemma

My dreams of playing with my girls in the wonderful local parks were dashed recently by the reality of taking two real kids to the park. I am cursed with a child who is obessed with swinging. Yes, La Nina is a swing addict. She knows the location of every big girl swing in town and informs me of the presence of swings every time we pass a park. "Mommy, that park has big girl swings" is a common phrase heard from the back seat of our van.

Before Maggie, this obsession was never a problem. A little tiresome, yes, but a problem, no. Now with Maggie, I can not stand in one spot and push La Nina to her heart's content. You see, Maggie is decidedly unimpressed with swinging and would rather run around. Therefore, I have a soon to be pre-schooler begging to be pushed and a toddler with no fear running wild into the swing's path time and time again. This is definitely a no-win situation for me.

Two recent outings were a complete disaster. The first time this issue arose, La Nina ended up in tears. I had pushed her for 10 minutes and I was tired of pushing with one hand while holding Maggie in the other. Maggie wanted down and frankly, La Nina was ungrateful for my efforts and kept asking to be pushed higher, which was impossible one handed. So, I told her I was done pushing and when the swing gradually settled into idleness, the tears flowed. I tried to encourage her to join Maggie and I on the slides, but the tears escallated into a full, body-flopping melt down and we left the park 15 minutes after arriving.

The second troubled outing was Friday. Trying to stem the tears, I advised La Nina that I would only push her for 5 minutes when we arrived in the park and for 5 minutes before we left the park. I explained the situation with Maggie and advised her the park outing was supposed to be enjoyable for everyone. I told her she was expected to entertain herself with her friends during the break between swing sessions. She seemed to understand and accept the conditions of our park visit and enjoyed her first swing session. However, when I stopped pushing, La Nina proceeded to sit in the tan bark and wait for the next 5 minute session. She refused to join in the fun of play group. The ground was wet, the air filled with fog and after about 20 minutes, she was shivering. After 30 minutes, she was miserable and wanted to go home. The entire outing lasted 45 minutes.

This weekend I solved this problem by going to a park that doesn't have swings. When we pulled up, La Nina commented, "Hey, this park doesn't have swings." I barely contained my giggle. But you know what? She had fun. She climbed on the structure and slid down the slides. We pretended to bake cookies and we learned to play tag. We were able to include Maggie in everything and the outing was delightful. This won't fix the problem for our playgroup outings, but it is a temporary solution for weekends and afternoons.

The funny thing is: I am so surprised by the number of Moms with this problem. I mentioned it twice and both mom's groaned in sympathy. Each Mom elaborated on their attempts to teach 2 year olds to pump their own swings. Believe me, I was taking careful notes. Until La Nina can pump her own swing, the swing problem is going to continue.

This is one of those little dilemma's of motherhood I just never anticipated. Pre-kids, I always saw families at the park, the mom's happily chatting on the bench or maybe pushing a swing, the kids running around. It all looked so perfect. Little did I know, there was a dark side to the park. Yet another image of parenthood crushed by reality.


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