Foolhardy of a Friday morning on a Parental Leave day off, I says to the kids, I says, Will we do a challenge? We'll see how many playgrounds we can "do" in one day will we?
So we drew a map, and we made a list, complete with check boxes, to fill in on successful conquest of each site.
We started with the windswept seaside one. It was busy for some reason, tripping over itself with toddlers. A bit wet, and treacherous for climbing because of that, there were lucky moments (well I make my own luck by following the two year old closely) when I managed to catch a child that was otherwise about to stand up half way down the tall slide and trip over herself.
Then it was time for the one inland a bit, beside the GAA club. There was a dog doing laps around the outside of it, and as always at this one, a good sprinkling of hippies within - one with a gorgeous babba strapped to her. Kids climbed more, pretended they were kings of the castle. This one has a particularly good spider's web type yoke.
Next up - the wilderness called - there were only two other families at this one. Hardened by the elements, the mammies were chilling out, the kids running riot, falling off things from heights, and eating junk food - sort of junk food, crisps - that Danger Cushions was mad jealous about. The energy was flagging on my side by then, so with a promise of our own junk food I enticed them back to the car to go home for lunch.
We set off again, making a pit stop for the promised junk food, and arrived the one between the marsh and the train tracks. The rain was just stopping as we got there so we had it to ourselves for a few minutes but then they started coming out from the woodwork, mammy judging me for having my kids eating junk in the playground, judging me more for dragging them away after only 25 minutes, I wanted to shout "it's their fourth one today" but I didn't want to appear to be ungracious. They clicked well with some kids here, but it was really time to be getting on to the next place, so we bade them farewell.
The next spot beside the community centre had a lovely little vibe to it, and really good mix of things for their age groups, ie a super easy side, and a just at the edge of the older one's ability side, so though I thought they'd be bored and just as likely to sit on the bench at this one, they continued to play, tirelessly roaring around it.
The last playground of the day was suddenly drenched by an arriving cloud that seemed to smile down at me saying "Niamh, you've done enough, the kids have been exercised enough for today" and the threatening looking teenagers within it finished the argument in my head, it was home time. And if I don't win Mammy of the year after that, then I tell you it's not worth playing for!!!
(Whitegate, Cloyne, Lisgoold, Glounthane, Carrigtwohill & Midleton playgrounds were not harmed in the writing of this post)