I taught my one year old not to go to the playground.

Those were the thoughts that flashed across my mind while we walked around the playground today picking up peanut shells, cypress nuts, and acorns.

Pre-Covid we went to the playground at least once a day, often two or three times when the weather was temperate. We live across the street from, what we think is, the prettiest park in our community; two ponds, tons of trees, an open meadow, a basket ball court, and a playground half shaded by an old Live Oak.

We chose our home partly based on its close proximity to this park. We are making our plans for our forever home based on our close proximity to this park. We love this park.

Even before we were pregnant we would sit on the bench in front of the second pond under the shade of the Laurel Oaks and day dream together about bringing our one-day-baby to this park and that playground.

Now, a year into his life, I have trained my son not to go to the playground.

He completely ignored it as we walked all around the Live Oak looking for nuts to throw into the pond. He ignored it as we took turns sitting on Cypress knees, trying to find the perfect seat. He ignored it as we looked at the baby frogs by the water’s edge. We walked one big circle around his number one favorite place in the neighborhood pre-Covid and it was as if it didn’t even exist. And it broke my heart.

I have said No, honey I am sorry we cannot go to playground, so many times he has stopped asking. The tantrums were few and small, they ended quickly. Now he doesn’t even ask, he doesn’t even acknowledge the desire that I know is still there, to go and play. Oh my God, it breaks my fucking heart.

I hate that I have trained my one year old not to go to the playground!

What is a playground without play anyway?