Sunday, October 21, 2007

Preschoolers Get Yelled At for Peeing At Dog Park

We visited the new, renovated Perry Park on Washington Street in Somerville yesterday. My impression was very mixed.

The old park had a regular climbing structure, swings and a "really fast orange slide" that Eric loved. The surrounding landscape was run down and covered in gravel. The new park is bucolic, but the kids area is an exercise in minimalism. It's kind of like stumbling onto the Saturday Night Live loft owned by a couple named Nunie. Everything was postmodern and weird. There is a normal, dull rope climbing structure, a disk swing (The kind they had to get rid of at the Baldwin School because kids were breaking limbs on it) and these weird stainless steel balls that grow out of the ground. I think kids are supposed to spin on them, or bounce on them. But there's only 4 of them and they don't lend themselves to simultaneous play. IE, one child at a time per ball.

It leads me to wonder if playground designers have ever watched children play? I mean, have they ever seen a bunch of nine year old girls create a house and a restaurant out of a platform climbing structure, or two preschoolers doing similar games next to each other. I don't know why they could not have taken a page from the wildly successful Lexington Street park and put in similar equipment. But I am not a cutting edge European playground designer. I'm just a mom who knows the type of playground that works for a lot of different kids, and this is not it.

There was tons of green space, which I loved. But it also seemed to be an on leash dog park, which brings me to my next issue.

We went with our wonderful neighbors who have 2 boys, 3 and 5. The boys had to pee, so we sent the three of them off into the bushes. Some of the abutters yelled at them and told them not to pee. I don't know exactly what they said, but my neighbor's 5 year old was hysterical. My son and the 3 year old just went about their 'business' and went back to the climbing structure.

Who yells at little boys for peeing in a park where dogs are allowed to pee? It's not like there was a convenient public restroom nearby. With kids that age, you don't have ten minutes. Once they know they have to pee, you get about two or you have wet pants and a puddle of urine at their feet in someplace much less convenient than a bush.

There were about six feet away from the fence, so it's not like they were trying to pee on the abutter's property.

I felt so bad for my neighbor's son. Perhaps if Eric or the younger brother had been a bit older, they would have been more shaken. But fortunately they weren't.

Eric was trying to comfort him later and he was a raging mess and shoved him over. Into a puddle. Poor Eric.

Then today when we saw them on our way to Palmacci park (a "normal" kids park), Eric said to him: "Hey, um B__"

B__ said "Yes?"

"Next time we go to park, I don't want you to push me into a puddle."

And B__ agreed and they are friends again.

My heart is so full of love I feel I could burst.


Blogger Downpuppy said...

Lexington - the one by the bike path with all the plastic crap that the Brwon School kids play at after school? Hmmm - haven't been there much in years. Knew all the regulars when the little one was 2 or 3.

& boyhowdy is there a lot of kiddie pee in the bushes at the Dickerman.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

Yep. That Lexington. My kids LOVE the plastic crap. :-)

What is the Dickerman?

9:35 PM  
Blogger Downpuppy said...

The Dickerman is between Craigie & Iverson, halfway up the south side of Spring Hill, a block below Kelly-Morse. Couple climbing structures, a fountain, swings, and a second level with a basketball court. When Alice was 3-4, we used to stroll there after supper pretty regularly.

Like your new picture.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

Ah, the park we call "Cragie Street" it's less than 10 minutes from my house but we seldom go there.

Not sure why. It is a nice park.

9:06 AM  

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