It’s Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!

by Rachael on February 8, 2011

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Once upon a time — in another lifetime, really — I trained for three marathons in Prospect Park. In the mornings before work, I ran around and around and around the Long Meadow, and on Saturdays, I ran around and around and around the entire park, sometimes for hours. I once bumped into a co-worker after a run, and he pointed out that the park is also a place where people, you know, hang out. Which I did know; after all, I certainly didn’t run so fast that I couldn’t see them hanging out, with their children and their picnics and their dogs and their balls and their kites and so on. It looked fun, but I was busy.

And then, shortly after I got pregnant with the Critter, my relationship with Prospect Park changed completely. I wasn’t training for marathons anymore by then, but I was still running. But then I started bleeding, and I was told that the prenatal yoga was just fine, but the running had to stop — at least until the bleeding did. And so I slowed down. I didn’t even start running again after I was told I could, because by that point my body had changed enough that taking up running again just felt … weird.

And now all of my best memories of my pregnancy are of my long walks in the park — in the winter, when the shadows of the trees cast by the setting sun stretched all the way across the Long Meadow; in the spring, when from moment to moment the leaves became greener and greener and greener; and in the summer, when I described everything I saw to the Critter in my belly: It’s marvelous out here, kiddo! I can’t wait to show it to you!

Which I did for the first time on Hallowe’en 2008, when he was about six weeks old. I guess he didn’t see much.

And whenever I had to get out of the apartment the following winter, we went to the park. We saw a lot of snow, which apparently I didn’t photograph. But then, when spring came, I started running again! And the Critter came with me!

We celebrated his first birthday at the park.

We go to the playgrounds at the park …

We have picnics (rather serious ones, apparently) …

We play ball …

We hang out with our friends …

And we hang out with the ducks …

We live in a crowded, crowded city, and we have no back yard. What would the Critter and I do without the park to lose ourselves in, under the sky, in the trees?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things’s relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can’t imagine parenting without her husband’s sense of humor – he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can’t imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs “me time” in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter doesn’t appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn’t imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It’s More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can’t imagine parenting without her breasts; here’s why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family’s needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama’s next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn’t even know you needed (and probably don’t…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn’t survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it’s afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren’t things at all.
  • I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without…Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can’t imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it’s not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn’t easy at first, Knocked Up – Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can’t live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What “stuff” does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I’m a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship…and made life easier to boot.
  • It’s Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can’t imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin’ Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us…
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter’s perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles – come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama February 8, 2011 at 10:10 AM

What a sweet transition for you 🙂 I love how things get new lives, new stories, once kids come along.
Dionna @ Code Name: Mama recently posted… Respectful Parents Respectful Kids- Part 1 Discussion


I Thought I Knew Mama February 8, 2011 at 11:34 AM

I love how your relationship with the park keeps growing (and that is such a great park too!).

Until we became snowbound over the past couple of months, taking long walks was how my baby and I spent a good portion of most days. I can’t wait till we can get back out there!

Great blog – I’m a new subscriber 🙂
I Thought I Knew Mama recently posted… I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without…


Rachel Sussman February 8, 2011 at 1:33 PM

I’m a former city-dweller currently living in the suburbs because of school–but contemplating a move back to city. And I sometimes wonder how we will do it, without a yard. Your post reminded me….oh yeah…parks! great mood in this post.
Rachel Sussman recently posted… Science Sunday- Lets Talk About Sex- Babies


Rachael February 9, 2011 at 10:03 PM

I don’t think I could have survived in NYC as long as I have (16 years this summer!) if it weren’t for the parks!


Danielle February 8, 2011 at 3:05 PM

Parks! I can’t wait for park season to start again though, for us, this year will be so different than last. Last year I began park season with a non-walker and ended with a full blown toddler. This year I will start with a little boy and a new babe in tow. Not sure how that will change the way we spend our days and time at the park, but I’m sure we’ll find a new groove and a way to enjoy all those outdoor spaces!


Lauren @ Hobo Mama February 8, 2011 at 3:31 PM

I love your photos, and the lovely and continuing relationship you have with the park. We’re feeling the same way about our little beachfront here – seeing it through different seasons and through new transitions. It really makes you feel grounded and part of the neighborhood while also being part of nature.
Lauren @ Hobo Mama recently posted… February Carnival of Natural Parenting- My parenting essentials- from Tivo to battery-operated monstrosities


Meredith February 8, 2011 at 8:49 PM

How wonderful that you are able to share such a special place with your son. And as a fellow runner (and owner of that same orange BOB!) I can definitely relate to how your relationship with both the places you run and the act of running itself changes once pregnancy and baby come along 🙂

Reply February 9, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Being in nature is really important for us too. We’re grateful to live in the country and I’m so pleased you have found a lovely park to meet your needs … recently posted… Sugar free frosting – icing recipes


islandofgriefmountainofjoy February 9, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Really beautifully written. I too use to run marathons and ran all the way through with my first pregnancy. And I use to strap her in that jogging stroller and she loved it. and one time, (we live in Fl) it just started sun showering and I was so nervous that she was getting wet, because she was so little. But she wasn’t upset- it was the first time she laughed. We both recognized the beauty in that moment and in all around us- sometimes I show it to her, mostly she shows it to me


Rachael February 9, 2011 at 10:26 PM

They do show it to us, don’t they?


6512 and growing February 10, 2011 at 8:36 AM

Thank goodness for public parks, essential.
6512 and growing recently posted… Homestead Happenings- ten hours


teresa February 11, 2011 at 12:12 PM

You make me want to go to the park right now!
I love all the pictures too. Oh my, what a critter you have!
We have a big yard, but Daddy still takes her to the park sometimes too. There’s just nothing like it.
This was a great read, thanks!
teresa recently posted… The Gift of Shared Time


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