Hello, welcome to the second instalment of Ramblings of a Playground Mum. At the beginning of February, we holidayed in Lorne and Warrnambool and I realised my kids really are outdoors kids. But having children has changed my outlook when I am outdoors. I’m not sure if other mums can relate but now instead of relaxing and enjoying the surrounds I look for the flaws. It’s like the D in Drs ABCD, scan for danger. Can I see my child across most of the playground? How many gaps are there (or fireman’s poles) that they can fall from? What is on the ground that my son can and will put in his mouth (cigarette butts eeww)? Can my daughter run (that child is so fast) after a bird and out onto a road while I have my boob out feeding her brother? It’s no surprise that sometimes it just seemed easier to stay at home.
While at the playground in Warrnambool I was involved in a wonderful supportive encounter with some other mothers. My daughter, as she does, found another child to play with who was a little younger than her and needed help to climb some equipment. I helped her climb in and out of boats as I searched the playground for her mother and my gaze descended on a group of four women who were having a playdate/mum date. It reminded me much of my own lovely mothers group and I smiled thinking “good on you ladies”.
Then one mum, heavily pregnant scanned the playground, amidst conversation, to find her son on a swing being pushed by a random mum who was also pushing her child on the neighbouring swing. She carried her beautiful pregnant self over to the swing set, which alerted the other mums from the group that the children were not in view, apologising profusely to which the random mother replied, “It’s fine I am standing here anyway, and he used such beautiful manners when he asked to be pushed I couldn’t say no”. How this hormone infused mother didn’t burst in to tears I will never know! When I was that pregnant if someone had told me, my child had used good manners and was also looking after them, I probably would have cried while hugging them.
As the other mothers searched for their children I waited for the little girl my daughter was playing with to be called upon. It was then I noticed her mother was sitting at the table breast feeding a newborn. I watched from the corner of my eye as she struggled to end the feed abruptly, I saw the panic as she stood up and didn’t spot her child straight away and then as she made her way over to the boat I saw her relief and the exhaustion cross her face and I was right back there with her. “I’m so sorry” she said, “I’m just trying to sort out this juggle between the two” and she acknowledged her children. It was a situation very similar to this that put me off parks until a few months ago. I was so overwhelmed at the time trying to breastfeed a newborn and stop Imogen from running out onto the little road around a playground at the lake. I remember feeling like a fish wife constantly calling her name and I was so overwhelmed and wondering how I was ever going to manage an outing with two children. It was then I swore off playgrounds until I felt like I had more control of the situation. I replied, “you’re doing great, it’s tough at the start, my son is one and we are only just managing it now”. The woman sighed and was grateful with my understanding and we chatted for a little longer.
I loved that in this one exchange the playground was full of mothers who were supporting each other and were all in different stages of motherhood. It was like an invisible net holding us all up. So, I encourage you all to venture to the playground and support other mums and don’t feel judged if you are being helped by a stranger as they have probably been n your shoes themselves.
Perfect Toddler Playground
Location: Coorabin Drive, Brown Hill (off Springs Road)
One of our little hidden gems! It’s a perfect playground for toddlers. Two minutes down Springs Road and you will find Coorabin Drive. The playground is located at the end of Coorabin Drive up on the hill. It’s far enough away from the road to be comfortable with safety, although there is one driveway running alongside to the house behind the playground. It has two small slides adjoined by a small bridge, swings, a fruit shop window, bells, small climbing poles, a see saw and a climbing web for the more adventurous or older child. It also has a large grassed area perfect for a game of tag, kicking the soccer ball or a picnic.
Car parking is on the street in the housing estate, but footpaths provide easy access for prams.
BYO coffee and snacks as there are no shops nearby.
Imogen’s favourite part: The new egg stall selling eggs next to the playground. She was very upset we couldn’t get any. We will make sure we take some coins next time.
Kristie’s tip: This is a great playground for toddlers. It has enough equipment to keep them busy and is also designed to allow them to gain confidence in climbing, walking and sliding with parents not having to climb around after them to ensure they are safe. It does get quite windy so be prepared to dress warm on cooler days.
Happy exploring x