Satan’s Playground

Allow me to be dramatic.

Like you have a choice. Like you EVER have a choice.

It is so hot here I want to curl up and stuff myself in the refrigerator, hoping to drift off to sleep like a ladybug. (Have you ever seen those refrigerated bags of ladybugs they sell at gardening stores that wake up after they thaw out? Seriously creepy, traumatic childhood memory for me.)

In response to a comment in my epically long Blogher10 post below I mentioned, “Blogher could be in a landfill and I’d be happy if the high was 85.” Like, I mean, I might get disgusted by the smell, but it surely wouldn’t be as bad as the FLAMES OF HELL I step into every time I emerge from my house these days. NYC and it’s 88 degree highs, humidity included, felt like a leisurely walk on a breezy morning over a hillside next to a cold body of water compared to the oppressive temperatures here.

No. It shouldn’t come as a shock. I live in TEXAS. It’s AUGUST. I get it. That doesn’t mean I can’t complain about it.

Because you know what makes living in the ass-crack of hell even worse? Entertaining a child. There are basically 3 months out of the year that we must hole up, hunker down, and live off of what we have in the house- 1/2 of January, 1/2 of June, all of July, and EVERY SECOND of August. And you know what’s just perfect? Every form of “school” is out for a break this month (or at least half of it- the hottest half, I would argue).

It’s not fair, really. Kendall’s “Mother’s Day Out” program, which he attends 2 days a week so that I may accomplish things other than frequent potty trips and using my “calm” voice to discipline, is air conditioned, provides entertainment and adult caregivers who apparently *like* to paint with my child. WHY must they be out for “vacation” this week and next? Just WHAT am I to do with him right now?

I mean, let’s be honest. Most of those teachers probably have kids in the same set up. They are probably home now for this “vacation” and surrounded by their own hyperactive, scaling the walls children, wishing they were away from them or could send them somewhere air conditioned and stimulating. Why are these “vacations” not during October? That’s what I want to know. Let’s work with what we’ve got, people. Leave me to entertain my child 24/7 during a month when I actually *enjoy* being outside with him, when it’s feasible to take him to a grassy spot somewhere and let him run for hours, fearing not that he passes out from a heat stroke.

So now my options are this-

1. Take my child to an indoor location where he may run about like a wild monkey, like the indoor mall playground. Problem? That place is more packed than a Filene’s Basement during Running Of The Brides, and if one more 10 year old leaps over my kid as they bound from slide to slide (whilst talking on a cell phone– TRUE STORY), I might explode.

2. Take my child to a “park.” You know, those places outdoors? Problem? Uhm, OUTDOORS. Why every play structure in the state of Texas is not fully covered (like the ONE playground w/in a 20 mile radius of us that is – that we have been to eleventybillion times) is beyond me.

What boggles me even more? Outdoor malls in Texas. WHY would anyone think that’s a good idea? The only explanation is it was designed by a developer in Canada without access to the Weather Channel. Our closest mall happens to be an outdoor mall, complete with outdoor play area. I’ve dubbed it “Satan’s Playground.” Allow me to show you why:

Imagine, if you will, standing in a toaster oven… on high. Feel the BLAZING HOT of the metal play structures on your hands, the heat waves from the dark, hard ground penetrating your shoes. Now, look up. Notice there is NOTHING between you and the fireball 100 feet above you. This is where parents send their children when they’ve been very, very bad. THIS is Satan’s Playground (at least for a very good portion of the year).

What the hell kind of sense does this make?

Kendall is 2 and finally napping after a long morning being couped up and watching various Nick Jr. shows, and I’m 21 weeks pregnant (which makes all of this even worse).

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  1. I totally know the feeling. NONE, of the playgrounds in our area are covered. And then to make it worse, they have that black rubber “mulch” on the ground. So yeah, feel.your.pain.


  2. And we are supposed to have a longer summer this year. Say hello sweltering Halloween, Mwaahahaha! At least in Houston (my world) we recognize the hellhole that is Texas Summer. Introducing the splash pad. Water meets regular park. Its all the rage. Multiple Houston city parks have them and most of the newer master planned communities. See that picture? Watery goodness. I can’t believe you dont have one hiding up there somewhere. Sending you summer survival vibes and much A/C.

  3. I knew it was bad here in Texas when my (then 2-year-old) nephew who LOVED to be outdoors told me that he really shouldn’t play outside that summer day because it was too hot and he might get “de-hy-dree-ate-ed.”

    • Oh, that story is awful but I have to say I could totally be that mom. My kid is the one who is always shoeless, even on hot black asphalt in 105 degree heat and more than once I’ve had to scoop him up because he started to look like he was in pain. Plastic playground equipment isn’t SUPPOSED to get to 165 degrees, so I can understand how letting your kid play on SOMETHING DESIGNED FOR CHILDREN would seem like a pretty safe bet.

  4. Hehehe. I’m so used to it, and I’ll take heat over cold any day. Outdoor malls? Don’t you just love Firewheel? Even in the heat, it’s an awesome place.

  5. That train isn’t actually metal, but it does get hotter than hell! My kids prefer to take their chances on the rocks by the stream. You know, the ones you aren’t supposed to walk on!

    I’ve wondered the same thing about the outdoor mall concept. They put one in near where we lived in Houston right before we left, and it was kind of nice there, but up here it just seems crazy. I always wanted to go to the mall when the weather was bad, but here you can only go when it’s nice.

    Up at that new mall in Allen/Fairview (also an outdoor mall, wtf?), there’s a little splashpad thing behind The Purple Cow. It wasn’t ridiculously crowded today around 11:30-12, and by 12:30 or so, it was clearing out. Not ideal timing, I know, but maybe something you can work in occasionally.

  6. I’m an Arizona native with 2 kids,and I think I could write this exact same thing. Except, there’s really no playing outside here May-August. I see people post on Facebook about it hitting 100 degrees and I want to pack up and move in with them. We have an outdoor mall near us with a covered splash pad, but the thing is like 6′ x 8′, and every kid in this part of the valley is there it feels like!

  7. I’m in Oklahoma and I understand your pain. All I want to do is float my pregnant ass in my pool. THe problem? The heat index is 110 and the pool is 95.

    Hang on! The mid-September weather break will be here before you know it!

  8. The weather has been dangerously hot up here this summer too. I feel bad because we wait all winter long to be able to play out side, but I’m not letting this white-ass children play in the blistering sun. It’s dangerous out there. I saw on the news last night that two twin 1 yr olds died of heat exhaustion while napping in their beds. It’s horrible. So we stay tucked inside our air conditioned house, or we run errands at the air conditioned Target. But no way are we playing in the oven outside.

  9. I live in Iowa. This past week, our temps were in the 90’s with a heat index of 110! I personally hate summer and all it has to offer. 🙂 I love the winter, bring on the snow.
    I remember the summer I was pregnant. It was so hot and I had the temp set to 64 degrees. I would be sitting there in no pants while my boyfriend was wearing hoodies cuddle under a blanket. I didn’t care, I pay the electric bill! LOL

  10. Holy shitballs it was hotter in Dallas last weekend than it is here in Austin! We were completely overwhelmed.

    Also? That playground? Sheer evil. My kid who isn’t a crazy climber? Well let’s say she’s climbed on top of that train and that tall thing on the right one too many times. And my friend’s kid? Well she fell off the choochoo too.

    That’s not even including the sheer heat of it all.

  11. Olivia Schmitt on

    Dear McDonald’s:
    Apparently you haven’t noticed, but it gets hot here in Texas. Whaddya say you put some of your playscapes INDOORS so my children can play in them without getting burned (which has happened to my son).

    Until then, I will be forced to take my children to Burger King, where it is stinky and dirty but pleasantly cool.

    Thanks for everything!

      • Olivia Schmitt on

        LOVE the Fil-A. Unfortunately, my children won’t eat the food. They’re slowly coming around to chicken, but they’re hearts belong to red meat. (Interestingly, red meat was one of the only things I could tolerate while pregnant.)

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