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Sunday, September 20, 2009

The people in my neighborhood

The park is pretty much our second home. We go there instead of hanging out in our small backyard. We have our birthday parities there. We meet friends there. We make friends there. I love the park.

I feel like it is our park. But of course it isn't. It is also their park. It is the park of people I don't know. People who aren't there when I am. People who frequent the park in different shifts than I do. (I'm on the 9 am -noon and 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm shifts.)

Part of the impetus behind our Fall party in the park yesterday was to meet other families who use the park. To build some community between all of us. So that the next time we are at the park at the same time we will remember we've met before and will talk like old friends.

The party came about because a bunch of parents were talking about starting a parents group for the park. A group that would organize fun activities for the kids, strengthen connections between parents and advocate the interests of parents to the overseers of the park. We are getting closer to establishing this group. In the meantime we went ahead and threw a party.

A handful of us cobbled together the necessary components for a party. One mom brought paints and apples for fall-themed crafts. I ran the scavenger hunt that had kids searching the park for hidden construction paper leaves to stick on a paper tree. MamaMimis brought her son's basketball hop and a basket full of balls. Another mother lead a creative and interactive outdoor drama class. Frugal + Urban was the official greeter and made sure all the parents felt welcome and that their kids joined in. People brought snacks and the Second Cup next door to the park donated coffee.

The party was a success. We had over thirty kids, some I knew and some I didn't. With our limited promotion we were all very pleased. There is already talk of a winter party with sleds, snowman and snow painting. I can't wait.

Oh, and in case you are wondering the girl had a blast. She may have been momentarily disappointed to find out that there was no cake and ice cream at this party, but she recovered quickly when she saw her friends. I think my highlight of the morning was reenacting a very spirited version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears for her and four of her friends. There is nothing like running as fast as you can away from five two-to-four year olds pretending to be bears intent on eating you.

The boy was not as happy. With four (yes FOUR) new teeth breaking through he has been miserable these last few days. He ended up missing half of the party because he was napping when it started and left early for another nap. Poor little guy.

Lucky for him there will be more parties in the park.


  1. What a great idea! We just had a neighbourhood party on Labour weekend, it is great to re-connect with neighbours...just before going into hibernation!

  2. That sounds like such a great place to hang out!! Our parks aren't like that...I live in a country type setting.

  3. We partake in a weekly picnic potluck style at our park that has completely changed the way I feel about my neighborhood - it feels all COMMUNITY-LIKE.

    I feel like the park is our yard . .we're there SO often!!

  4. Ooh that sounds like so much fun!

    We're the same - we have such a tiny back garden that the park is our second outdoor home. I've been trying to pack in as much time there, long leisurely afternoons in the sunshine, before the rain and the winter cold sets back in :-( Then it's back to our 'other' second home - under the duvet.

    (Sympathies for little guy's teeth - Kai's cutting four at once too - miserable!) x

  5. What a wonderful thing to have! You have mentioned many times how much you love being able to have that park to go to every day, and how it has enriched your at home time with your children, personally and for your children's socializing and frienships. To be able to centre your community around it speaks volumes for the community you have! I'm glad your get-together went well!

    Most of the people with babies around us work, and the children are in day care (like ours). We have a small park near our house, but it is close to a high school and is usually filled with teenagers smoking and doing other, more innapropriate things during the day. Last year I reported three instances of vandalism. :(

    But we take our son to the swings in the evening, and the other day he went down the slide by himself with both of us to catch him at the bottom. We occasionally meet other families too.

  6. Sounds like you had a lovely day! Our closest park has been out of commission since June. The community centre is under renovations and they keep pushing back the date the park will be re-opened. Made for a very LONG summer.

  7. Wow! How awesome!! I was just at one of my favorite parks the other day and there was a big birthday party going on - complete with those blown-up jumpy-things (bouncy castles??). Only thing was that the parents were all sitting around drinking beer and listening to Kanye and every once in a while this scary dad would scream at his kids to do this or that from 100 feet away. NOT the kind of family I want to meet at the park! hahah

  8. that's awesome brie. it's great when all of a sudden you are part of a community that wants to do stuff and get that sense of belonging going. wish we had something like that here.

  9. That sounds wonderful. What a great community you live in!