3/23/12

Mother of Invention


If you've ever been to the park with my family, you'll most likely find one (or both) of my boys sitting on a limp swing screaming, "MOM! MOM! Push me! Mom? Can you hear me? MOM push me! MAAMMM" I will be sitting on a bench staring at my iPhone or chatting with a friend pretending to ignore their desperate cries. To me, swings are the worst. It's such a sedentary activity for my child if I'm pushing. I like my kids to be running and jumping to burning off their endless supply of energy. I'm convinced swings don't get the job done.

The boys love it though. And it's because of the sheer joy this simple act gives, I eventually push them.

It's actually kind of embarrassing how happy it makes them. Especially if I grab their feet on the way up. Or tickle their necks on the way back. One day I'll feel nostalgic for these moments, but for now I find the swings to be one big headache. My boys always complain that I don't push them enough (even though I've counted 100 pushes in my head). They whine when it's someones turn, and they have to get off. The sun is always in my eyes. My hands get cold. I've been trying for years to teach my boys how to swing by themselves. Years.

Today at the park was no different. Them screaming. Me ignoring. As I finally started pushing Owen, I looked over at the bucket toddler swings. I saw a couple pushing their little baby. The dad was taking a million pictures with his bulky camera. The mom was smiling and giggling at the baby. I didn't ask, but I'm almost positive it was the baby's first time in a swing. The parents were just so excited. I remember being the same way and recording the video of the boys. (Below. Please ignore my awful headband.) Finally, I thought, something to do at a playground with them. Life suddenly felt more fun.



But that was 4 years ago. Swinging has turned into a chore. That is, until I looked over at Oscar today.

He was SWINGING ON HIS OWN. And high too! I grabbed my camera and started snapping pictures away, just like the couple with the babe next to us. You should have heard me cheering. He told me he was going to swing forever. And then tried to kick me in the face. Again!

I rank the learning-how-to-swing-on-your-own-milestone
just under potty training. It's huge! I made such a fuss about Oscar. Suddenly, Owen was trying to do it himself, too.  He's still going to need a little more practice to master this skill. All I have to do is ignore Owen's pleas to push him, and bam! I have no doubt he'll learn soon. Necessity is, after all, the mother of invention!




What are your thoughts on pushing your kids on the swings? Dread it or love it?

30 comments:

  1. I have no children. But in my head where I do in the future, I say dread. On the swinging. Not the children. I'll probably make a rule that if I push them... they have to push me. Perhaps that will motivate them to find a way in the swinging business on their own.

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  2. Do you remember that park in Pleasanton that I first met you? Ella was like 3 months old. Anyhow, it was the only park in the entire town that had no swings and I went there OFTEN! Whenever I wanted a break, that was the park we went to because I could sit and read and relax without being asked to push all the time! I'm glad I'm not the only one that doesn't always want to be a swing pusher!
    maren

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  3. nice photos .. they look so cute playing those kids ...
    transmit so much joy and peace ...
    very nice article ..
    regards

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  4. beautiful photos ... You're right Sofi Garcia ... they look so beautiful and spread his peace and joy ..
    Greetings!

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  5. When I was a camp counselor, we had 120 kids who would all end up on the swings at some point and would all want to be pushed, so I had a rule: I would choose an arbitrary number and that's how many pushes they would get. Seven pushes, next kid. They had to either keep it going themselves after my seven or find something else to do. It made it easier to say no after that--they'd already had their seven, so I wasn't being unfair. Just following the rule that I had with every other kid!

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  6. This post made me laugh (so did that headband)! I love the swings. They are my favorite – I still swing when we visit the park! I guess that’s why I don’t mind pushing my own boys. However, I typically make sure they are swinging next to each other so that I can stand in between the two swings and push them at the same time. I am all about shortcuts or efficiency, depending on how you want to look at the situation. Cute post!

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  7. As a Mom who is still very much in the phase of taking a zillion pictures on the swings - as seen here http://agratitudejourney.blogspot.com/2012/03/we-love-central-park.html - this made me laugh out loud! I can imagine getting to this point, though, and really hating it! Currently, I hate the sand box. My son loves it. I dread it. :)

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  8. You crack me up! I love pushing my son on the swings, but I only have him so it is easier than it would be with 3 kids!

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  9. I remember to this day my dad teaching me how to swing on my own. Days and days one summer were spent with him instructing me "forwards, now backwards, now forwards" because it's not the easiest thing in the world to figure out! Pumping is all about the timing and it takes a while to master, but I still remember the thrill when I finally got it and his patience.

    Of course, you can't give yourself an underdog.

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  10. I'ver never liked pushing kids on swings, and I'm a teacher and mom of 3 young kids--I often just flat out refuse to push--I swing with them instead! What a cute Bob Dylan tee shirt, by the way, can you tell me where you got it?

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  11. I don't have children of my own yet, but I nannied for several years and pushing the swings has always been there with me. The family had a little boy 2, and an older boy, 6. We would play outside all day long, then came the swings, I DREADED it. I didn't mind pushing the 4 yr old, he was light, and cute and seemed to appreciate it and we could play we were airplanes, or I could swing next to him and we could fly.
    But with the older brother, it was different. He could swing on his own, why would he need me?! Didn't he want to be the cool older brother who could teach the little kids to pump? No, so I would push and he would drag his feet, kick up mulch, fart, put his socked feet in my face and "accidentally" kick me. If I refused he would beg and plead and whine until I wanted to kick myself in the face.
    That said, swings are a doosey. Fun when the kids little, get rid of em' when they're bigger.

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  12. Dread it! Sooo boring..but then I feel guilty because they love it so much, so I push..and push..and push.. I too long for the day when they are big enough to push themselves. Until then, I have wonderfully toned biceps!

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  13. Thanks so much for this post. I don't like pushing my kids on the swings and I always feel guilty, now I can just say I don't like pushing!

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  14. So funny! And interesting! I never would have thought it would be annoying, but it sounds like a total pain!

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  15. I read this post earlier...then I took my boys and their 3 friends to the park this evening. While there another kid kept screaming from the swing for his mom to push him. She sat far away at a picnic table playing on her phone, ignoring her kid....for like 10 minutes he screamed, "MOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!!!!!" So finally, I explained to him how to do it himself. He looked at me really weird and then did exactly what I told him. He swung like a pro. I asked him if he has ever done it by himself before and he said no and had such pride in himself. He did it for a while always looking towards his mom for recognition...Finally, he screamed, "Mom, look at me...I'm swinging!!" She never did acknowledge him. I kept telling him how awesome he was doing though. LOL I thought she would be thanking me for teaching him because now he won't be bothering her.

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  16. haha let's move back! it's worth it for the swingless park!!

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  17. haha i'm glad your got a kick out my headband. it kept falling and i wouldn't notice.
    good idea btw--i might need to take a turn on the swings to remember how it feels. it's been too long.

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  18. yes the sad box...it's tough with little ones. Have you ever been to Wild West Park in Central Park? Almost the whole thing is a sand box. My kids come home so dirty!!!

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  19. such a lovely memory. made me smile.

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  20. i got shirt at Lucky three years ago! i'm a huge Dylan fan so I had to have it. here's a link to their current t-shirts: http://www.luckybrand.com/Shirts-Tees/kidBoys-shirts-and-tees,default,sc.html
    the cuba shirt is cool!

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  21. you totally nailed it--it is so boring!

    and i never thought about the toned triceps! there's a motivator :)

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  22. awwww. what an sad/interesting experience!

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  23. So funny, I love it. And that old video is classic!!!! You and rob are adorable.

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  24. I saw your kids (and your husband) at a diner today for lunch time. It was great to see them as I use to read your blog...yep they're real. You were not there otherwise I would have come (or maybe not, too shy)...

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  25. Sharon, I think you'll appreciate this ecard http://www.someecards.com/usercards/viewcard/MjAxMi1hYWY5YzcxY2E3YzViMTkw

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  26. Just like you said, great when they are little (keeps the wood chips and other crap out of their mouth) and a pain when they are older. I want the bums running around and burning energy, just as you said. I ignore the pleas too, esp. when I have a sleeping baby strapped to my chest (most of the time at the park). They often lie over the swing pushing off the ground with their feet when I won't push them and that looks plenty fun to me.

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  27. Yes, the pushing on the swings. Funnily enough, we were at the playground in our 'hood yesterday with our six year old daughter and her friend from school. My daughter LOVES the swings and could be there forever. It was sooo freeing when she figured out a few years ago how to do the pumping.

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  28. I am not a fan of pushing either, and try to tune out the "push me" requests, but I did want to say that it isn't as sedentary as you think. Swinging is one of the best ways to develop the inner ear function that helps control balance and coordination. http://www.awakeparent.com/Shelly/swinging-helps-kids-attention/ I love feeling doubly guilty. First for being lazy and just not wanting to push and second for denying themthe chance to get some good inner ear development in ;)

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  29. hey julie!! that article is such a good find! i never thought of it that way. thanks for sending it my way. it gives me a totally new perspective.

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