Parks and Preservation

These days, I’m realizing that the only sure-fire way to keep MJ from turning the house upside down is to keep her out of it completely.

So, on this Spring break day, mid-way through a long and activity-less week, I decided to hunker down with her at our local park. As in, all day. From 10:30 AM to 3:45, to be precise. We brought a picnic, we brought six books, we brought toys (an eclectic and somewhat absurd collection, curated by guess-who?), we brought the dog, we brought cloth napkins. (Because my daughter doesn’t go anywhere without them. They’re her version of an iphone.)

MJ spent the day happily, playing mud pie, playing “naptime” (fictional, alas), playing “laundry,”  (cloth napkins and the water fountain.) Playing with other kids. Playing with sticks. Playing with grass. Playing with air.

Me, I played dead. In the sand. As much as possible.

Still, unless you yourself have spent that kind of time in a sandbox with a three-year-old you may not know what kind of endurance test I’m talking about. Home now, I’m tired, covered with grit, and sunburnt.

But she is sated. And the house is clean. All of the mudpies, grass salads, and strewn leaves remain at the park.

The only mess? A pile of wet napkins in the utility room.

I’ll take it. My kid’s not the only one who knows how to play laundry.

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