*sigh* I have a runner. It only gets worse as he's gotten older and more daring. I swear it started being difficult to take him to a park as soon as he could walk (and pointless before then, except for dd's sake) It is VERY difficult to interest him in a playground at a park. He might play for a couple minutes, then away he runs. Yesterday we were at a park (one that we've gone to many, many times) that had a bunch of trees on one side.. not sure what they are.. cedars? fairly small/well pruned and shaped. By no means is this a "forested" area, just part of the park's landscaping. Its a (relatively) narrow strip along the side of the park but still.. probably easily 15-20 feet wide? on the other side is a fence because it backs to other businesses. but it goes on really far and on one end you meet a nice busy road, and on the other end it just leads out to other areas of the park.. its huge, a major bike trail goes through there, there's bathrooms that direction, the parking lot, there's lots of vision blocking obstacles. And then, yeah, a parking lot. And its busy enough, its a pretty busy park and can be hard to find parking sometimes! So, when he runs into those trees, they're far enough apart to walk between, close enough together to not be able to see anything and you're brushing up against branches on both sides when you walk between. So its a *perfect* place for a toddler to run wild through while I chase, and I *cannot* tell which way he went, except if I listen for him. So I'm chasing him through this MAZE. And a couple times I don't catch up until he's pretty darn far from the playground, with a concerned looking mom watching over him looking around for signs of his mom (thank goodness.. i like to think they'd snatch him before he hit the parking lot if i was still wandering tree maze) I feel I should also mention, those trees are pretty much on top of the benches/picnic tables where we sit to watch kids play, so when he *starts* running I'm right by him. He really doesn't need to run far at all before he's on the other side of a tree and I cant see which way he turned. Also should mention.. this is the first time we've visited that park where he's been *this* horrible. In the past he's run off a little, but never to the point of actually leaving my sight.
He alternates running to this nice grassy hill with a mild slope, just begging for kids to roll down it :D but.. at the top of that hill is a nice busy street. Its annoying and tiresome chasing him from the grassy area, but I can see him so its not as scary.
Then another park.. sigh.. its large and fenced on a couple sides. Incidentally, the fences are on the sides that *don't* face busy streets. He's pure 2 year old hell at that park too. And there's even more trees and bushes and trails that lead right up to a nice scary ROAD! The playground is lovely, but damned if he wants to play on it. I really feel that he wants to explore and find the boundaries at these parks. And also probably thinks its great fun when I chase after him. I can't *not* chase after him, or he'd get himself killed within 10 minutes.
Ever since the weather has gotten nice, and we've been going to parks more often.. this running away problem has gotten progressively worse until finally yesterday was like the last straw and I can't imagine I can take him outside anymore :( He's always been a runner, but this was SOOOO extreme you wouldn't believe it. I'm visualizing a summer spent inside. And the more I think about the problem.. WHY THE HELL aren't parks with playgrounds fenced?! Or am I the only one whose toddler would rather play in the street than on a playground? Seriously, it seems so basic. Depending on the specific park and the logistics involved, it would be so practical to fence in either the area surrounding the playground, or the entire park perimeter. I can't even think of any parks with fences. I'm told of their existence like maybe 25 min away, but I don't know their names or where they are. The very kid who so desperately needs to spend time outside running and burning energy CAN'T because it takes too much work to keep him alive.
Would you believe this same kid has raging separation anxiety and I can't leave him with anyone? Lovely.