[Note from Jodi: Thursday Night Smackdown (once my rival, now my lover.  No not really but that was beautiful, no?) invited me to post over in those thar parts, so I did.  I did it am I’m not sorry.  Check it out here.]

Swings are the hot-ticket item of any playground.  They are by far the most fun to play on, and have more appeal to a wider age group than any of the other playground equipment.  I still love swinging as high as I can, extending my arms, and throwing my head back so I can see the ground coming at me.  In fact I’d say that trying to recreate this exact sensation might have been the impetus for many years of debauchery in my twenties.  It’s disorienting and dizzying and dangerous and (what else begins with “d”?  I have a theme going here)…dodgy!  Anyway.  I know I am not alone in my love of the swing because they are always full. 

So I’ve been brought to my knees by a pressing question: how long can a child occupy a swing, while there’s a line, without being accused of bogarting the swing?  I’ve been on both sides of this conundrum.  I’ve been in the line, seething, as parents push and push and push and freaking push their kids, ignoring the line of kids trying to make sense of waiting forever, and totally ignoring the parents (read: me) mad-dogging them.  Then, I’ve also been pushing a deliriously giggling Roan on a swing after he has powered through the line, and finally been granted a turn.  He worked for this spot, and you know – I’m not going to short him.  Then I just have to ignore and dodge the daggers from the newly frustrated set of parents and kids who want their turn. 


Seriously – there’s a pretty intense dynamic around swing politics.  It is goofy as hell, but it is real.  So what’s the protocol, citizens?  And there’s a second part of the question: do younger kids take priority over teenagers?  I get a little shifty when older kids pay no mind to the younger ones with their big Japanese Anime Eyes looking at them with no effect whatsoever.  But then again maybe I’m just jealous of their immunity to that style of manipulation.


I know there are more important things happening in the world:  the Swine Flu, the First 100 Days of the Presidency, People’s “Most Beautiful People” issue not including Anderson Cooper and such, but my world is small and simple sometimes.  Swings: what are the rules?  And do you speak up when someone is not following them?


9 responses to “Swingers

  1. I would say that about 10 minutes or less on the swing is fair…I would think by then it would be “ok” to relinquish your spot! I would also speak up if someone goes past the 10 minute mark, because it’s not fair and it is New York City so there are a ton of people waiting, I would think it would be alright to say something as well!

  2. Ok I’ve wondered this same thing millions of times. I think there’s an unwritten code of conduct that stipulates older kids must give up their seats to younger kids. And parents have to drag their kicking and screaming children off the swings to make way for the other kids in line. They have to. Ten minutes seems a little long – I’d say more along the lines of five. Loved your post on Thursday Night Smackdown. You should have her write for you here sometime.

  3. Yeh I think I DO have to speak up but I just haven’t found the politically correct thing to say yet. “Get your swing-bogarting child off there” somehow sounds very aggressive. I will keep working on it.

  4. Somehow those tweener and teenage kids don’t agree with us. Go figure. Still, they are doing hard time with angry teenage hormones so we should show some compassion. I’d love to have TNS write for me – I’ll extend your invitation on behalf of the P+P staff. We have to wait until she finds her happy place again, though.

  5. Rodger Dodger

    I’ve been at the park with my son a few times and been so frustrated with the swing situation. I never even approach them because you get these moms (and dads) don’t bother teaching their kids about taking turns. Instead of trying to teach the parents what’s important to me and my son, I just move my son on to the monkey bars or climbing.

  6. Hey Jodeen,I have absolutely no input about swing ettiquette but I had to comment about your Thursday Night Smackdown thing.Do you remember the night of the hickies???It popped into my mind as I was reading and I just had to ask.

  7. Do I remember? I do! We had so much fun together…Those were good times Mellie – thanks for making it happen for me. I miss you!

  8. Hi, Glad to stumble your article …Very good post thanks..Electric Driveway Gate

  9. Swine flu is causing mass hysteria almost everywhere.

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