Everything (much to my chagrin) is green; the cafe tables are out on the sidewalks; the people aren’t unhappy. Everything has started to look the way it did when we first moved here. I feel a little sad to think that we only have a few short months left and this sadness has driven me to one of the things I like the least about parenting. Playgrounds.
I know. I’m horrible. I prefer the inside things, the snuggling together reading or laying next to each other on our stomachs with a roll of paper and a pile of crayons. I mean, I actually suffer going to museums with a toddler. Is it that much of a stretch to think, maybe, I don’t like running around? That said, even I have found myself wandering around the beautiful Viktoriapark with my husband and baby in the evenings.
The Spielplatz at this park, however, is pretty remarkable. Its fairly large and seems just as fun for little babies hanging out in the sand (All German playgrounds – in my experience – are covered in sand. None of that funny tire stuff here!) as it is for the bigger kids playing on the zip-line. Yes, a zip-line, and not one of those dinky, barely goes five feet ones we have in the US.
That’s the major difference between playgrounds in Germany vs. the US. The Germans believe more in personal responsibility, so yes, it is much easier to get badly hurt on German playgrounds (this one is nothing! I should post pictures of what I not-so-fondly call “the death pit” at another playground. Its a sunken concrete maze with about an inch or so of water running through the bottom. Let’s all crack our heads open! SO VIEL SPAß!), but then you have no one to blame but yourself. You and your child should have been more careful. In the US, there would be an uproar. Petitions and lawsuits. Fundraisers. A movement to change the playground – that is if something like that could pass whatever building codes we have at all.
Of course, I’m not trying to say one os better than the other and, of course, I watch my S like the over-anxious American mom that I am, but there is something to be said for teaching our children to be a little bit more responsible or – dare I say it? – ordentlich.