After the park-aversion of the last two years and the parkless wasteland that was this spring I am now making it all up to my children by going to the park almost every day.
This is the first year M has been old enough to play (as opposed to crying while refusing to nap a la last summer), which is great except when he chooses to do a runner which is, like, always. This is why I refuse to go to any playground that doesn't have a fence.
Fortunately, there is one park near us with a nice solid fence, gate that stays shut, plenty of shaded seating and things to play with for both my children's ages, so that is our park of preference. K would like some variety, but the huge gorgeous playground and family area near our house is too big and spread-out to keep an eye on two children, especially if one of them is a 21-month-old escape artist. Maybe next year.
For now, almost every afternoon we spend two or three hours at the playground. M rides his motorka or plays in the sandbox, K practices various flips and climbing maneuvers she has seen the big kids do, and I sit on the bench and (not being forced to trail after the toddler to keep him in the area) quietly read a book. It's the best thing ever.
I've actually been managing to keep up this park schedule while having one of my busiest work months of the year, so that time sitting on the bench reading is often my only down time all day. I often find myself answering work emails from the park, so it's not unusual to come home with more projects than when I left. Unfortunately it isn't practical to do actual work from the park, but then it does give me the perfect excuse to take the time to just read.
I also love watching the little ones play, though, in their own different ways. K is a daredevil and has completely mastered almost all playground equipment. She can climb the rock climbing wall, do a back-flip off the soft climbing equipment, slide down the pole and actually very nearly climb back up it again. She has also made friends with a couple of other park regulars, so she usually has someone to play with.
M likes playing with the playground stuff (sandbox, slide), but is happy to zoom around on his motorcycle the whole time, too (all Czech kids have a motorcycle/motorka). Some days he only gets off it to borrow someone else's motorka (while someone borrows his). Most of the time he plays on his own, though he is interested in watching and standing close to the other little children there, and sometimes he follows K and her friends around. She is a good big sister so they are nice to him.
I am pretty pleased that he hasn't hit anyone or flipped out when someone touches his motorka, takes a toy away, or similar. He handles it very well so far. We don't have any playgroups to go to so this is his main opportunity for social interaction.
It was in that park a few months ago that I taught K to ride her bike without training wheels. She got the hang of it ridiculously fast (I had, um, significantly more trouble as a child) and now after some sessions with Apo she is a confident rider and considerate of other people (riding carefully, avoiding getting too close, letting people pass).
Basically, what I'm saying is...wonder where I've been? In the park!