Life with a weird kid is isolating. You spend a lot of time tamping down that parental anxiety when your kid is freaking out and it seems like all the other kids are sitting nicely and cooperating. You explain over and over that your kid just doesn't like circle time or story time or most organized activities. I've learned over time to respect my son and the way he functions, and there are a lot of activities we simply cannot do because he can't handle them. I've learned that the reason it seems like all the other kids can cope is that the parents with the weird kids are staying home. I've felt completely and utterly alone as seemingly everyone else went around with their perfectly normal, average kid.
This is Offbeat Families's archive of playgrounds posts.
On a good day in London, on our local playground where race, class, school uniforms and linguistic boundaries may as well have been built out of concrete, I was a cynic. Visiting the Diana playground was a most welcome respite from all of that. And, though I am wary of entering the treacle zone, it is a testimony to the spirit of the Lady who inspired it. This playground exists in an unlikely place and it gives some pointers, some idea of what our society could be like. Maybe even our world.
Have you ever judged a dad who hangs at the playground or brings his kid to story time? Let's put the kibosh on it already.
A few weeks ago, my daughter Charlotte hit her friend at the park. Twice. With a stick. I was mortified. I knelt down to her level, grabbed her hands, and asked her to look at my eyes, please. She looked at the sky, at the bushes, at her feet, but refused to look at me. "Charlotte," I repeated. "I need you to look at me please."