Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

May 24, 2011

Slides - they are for going down, you know.

I have something to get off my chest about playgrounds. Well, not so much playgrounds: slides to be exact, and the apparent insistence of some children to go up them, rather than down. WHY, OH WHY??? I just don't understand and it makes me very, very cross.

Maybe I'm terribly old fashioned and completely out of touch with the 'yoof of today', but as far as I was aware slides are for coming down? Right? There is usually a helpfully designed set of steps or a rope ladder or some other sort of clambering/climbing device provided for the kids to make their way to the top of the slide. Right? So I am confused as to why some kids insist on spoiling all the fun for everyone else - and reducing mums like me to a quivering wreck in the process - by running back up the slide. Erm, hello, there's a massive queue of kids at the top waiting to come down. Do you see them? Yes, those ones there. The small people who are slightly hemmed in at the top, the ones who are looking a teeny bit anxious.

This is a bit like a maternal version of fingernails on a blackboard and while it might seem like a lot of angst about nothing to some, it really grates on me. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to explain to someone else’s child – and usually a child who is of the age to be able to grasp the confounding technicalities of using a slide – that they are going to have to move out of the way or nobody else will be able to come down.

OK, I might be a bit of a ‘control freak’ and perhaps there's a touch of the swings and roundabouts in my argument as I’m sure my own children have run up a slide on the odd occasion, odd, I stress, but only when there is no one else around and certainly not when I am looking or when there is a whole gang of toddlers and pre-schoolers forming a small flash-mob at the top.

So, please, please, please parents, as we head into the longer evenings and warmer days and flock to the playgrounds for a joyful half-hour of mild anxiety, please ask your children to go down the slides. It might not be all that tricky a concept to grasp after all and will save this mother a few additional grey hairs at least.

Thank you.

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  1. Oh dear. I do understand your lament. I do, I do, I do! But my blasted boys ADORE to run up the slide. I have asked them. I have cajoled them. I have screamed at them. I have banned them. All to no avail. Honest to God, it's like a bloody moth to a flame. What is the attraction? I don't understand it in the slightest. Now they are old enough to know that they should NEVER run up the slide if there are other children waiting...but still, it's not good playground etiquette I know. A friend of mine suggested inventing a double ended slide - a slide to run up and one to slide down. My boys, I know, would think this is just perfection.

  2. Oh dear I'm with Nicola here and mine are pre-schoolers. Eek. I do however try very hard to make sure it doesn't happen if there are other children waiting. It does seem to offer a magnetic attraction though to climb up the slide. The two yr old thinks its the best game ever!

  3. Yay it's not just me!!

    My son had a HORRIBLE accident when we slammed into a much bigger boy who was climbing up. It was the most terrible moment and it happened right before my eyes - all very fast. My son had a black and purple eye for weeks.

    And there was no sign of whoever was meant to be looking after the other boy. (He wasn't hurt, but a bit shocked.)

    Nowadays I feel like I spend my entire time at playgroup manning the stupid slide and making sure everyone goes the one way. Would I rather be drinking tea and having a chat? You bet.

  4. Yes! I'm not alone! If I had a pound for every time I said 'Nooooo, we go UP the stairs and DOWN the slide!'.

  5. It's just love to do the opposite of what is right and normal ( or at least the opposite of what we tell them)!!! :)

  6. Oh I'm so glad it's not just me. Kids going up slides drives me crazy. For me it's because my little girl is two and when she sees children doing this I can't help worrying that she'll copy. There is no way in the world I want her doing that at her age.

  7. I was always just the same, grumbling and muttering as older kids climbed up when my little one was patiently waiting atop with a queue behind her. I would be polite to the offenders until I was sure that there was no parent within earshot and then I would tell them to get down in my schoolteacher voice which could kill at 20 yards.When my daughter grew a little, she started climbing up the slide too as she had seen others do before her.Part of me thought 'well, it's her turn to try it', but my more orderly side kicked in and I, unlike many other parents who seem to turn the other way instead of keeping an eye on their kids,, told her off and insisted she do it the correct way. Spoilsport maybe, but I'm with you that it makes Me CROSS!!!Rant on slide etiquette over.(Anyway, she is "too old" now (her words!) to use a slide, so that's one annoyance that has gone from my orbit!!

  8. Oh dear I better stay away when you are at the park! My boys also love doing this. But in their defence they know not to do it when someone is coming down. I would be cross if they hurt someone by doing this.

  9. Oh, I'm with you on this. Particularly as Moo is obsessed about waiting her turn. Which often means she doesn't get one...

    But then she also tries to copy, and at 2, either doesn't manage it, or gets in people's way! We've just got a little toddler slide for the garden, and the first thing she said to me was "I go up the steps, mummy, not the slide?".

  10. That is so my pet peeve. It was also the first thing I ever heard my son comment to with: but he can! Yes dear, but we go up the stairs, down the slide. It is my playground mantra.

  11. Seems like the children on your playground are astoundingly well-mannered. I remember from my playground days that a form of darwinism would take care of the children trying to climb up chutes and slides while others waited to slide them down... It's not without tears, but I would guess it helps reinforce the understanding of the upclimbing child that it can't go against the will of many.

  12. It's kind of hard to explain to a determined 3 year old who just sees the whole 'slide-structure' as something to clamber around on: sometimes to slide down, sometimes to climb up. But obviously if there's someone waiting to go down, common sense would dictate that I hurry my child out of the way. I'm not especially bothered if I see others doing it, it's never really occured to me to have an opinion. And I have a son with severe haemophilia for whom a banged head/ injured joint is very serious. I'll be more vigilant in future though, now I know it's a hot topic!!


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