It wasn’t till I became a parent that I started to hang out, religiously, at all the playgrounds of Wellington (of which there are 102). Every suburb has one and, thanks to awesome renovations by the City Council, the standard is exceptionally high. What’s more the folk at the playgrounds are all so friendly and cosmopolitan, especially if frequenting the ones at Oriental Parade, Waitangi Park and Frank Kitts Park, where locals and holiday makers happily inter-mingle.
When Charlotte was a baby, and too young to participate, I would often walk past the playgrounds and feel that I wasn’t quite ‘in the club’ yet. For sure, I did the antenatal group coffee mornings, musical babies, nodded sympathetically at other sleep deprived parents pushing their newborns on yet another walk to try and get a reluctant baby to nap etc. Then it happened, Charlotte was old enough to participate at the playground and this opened a whole new world to me.
I have to say, at first, I was quite shocked at my ‘mother bear’ instincts to protect my baby/come toddler from the advances of the bigger children. And then she turned two and the next year was a big learning curve of turn taking and sharing. By the age of three, and little sister Sophie now in the world, we started to have some real fun at the playground. Charlotte now understands taking turns, sharing and respecting those younger than herself and Sophie is still too young to care.
We’ve enjoyed a wonderful summer 2007 and have spent endless hours touring the various playgrounds. The chance to intermingle with other adults is always a plus for me and I’ve found that the more I open myself up to people I meet, the more fulfilled I feel. I have gone a step further and now make an effort to exchange contact details with people I really ‘click with’. Sometimes I meet a fellow parent and our children have a beautiful connection, which is always magical to observe. Quite often I will meet someone and then, over the space of a couple of weeks, keep seeing them in a variety of locations around Wellington, as though we are destined to become friends or to exchange some important information (or one of us is a stalker!).
It’s wonderful to feel so safe at the playgrounds in Wellington and the City Council really have to be commended in their sterling job of keeping them maintained, clean and graffiti free.
My personal favourites – Oriental Bay, Waitangi Park, Frank Kitts Park, Houghton Bay, Seatoun, Botanical Garden, Breaker Bay, Central Park (Brooklyn) and a newly upgraded one in Strathmore (Miramar Peninsula).