Father finally has sense of belonging at the playground.
Father finally has sense of belonging at the playground. PHOTO DAVID STUART

Parenting the perfect excuse to swing from the monkey bars

Father finally has sense of belonging at the playground.
Father finally has sense of belonging at the playground. PHOTO DAVID STUART

I'VE definitely been afflicted with Peter Pan syndrome.

One of the unexpected benefits of my entrance into fatherhood has been the acceptance I've felt at children's playgrounds. Since entering my teens, I felt the societal pressure to stay away from playgrounds. "It's not your place any longer, David," an inner voice told me. "Look, everyone else is going to the pub."

I have recently felt welcome at playgrounds - providing, of course, that I'm there with my daughter. There were times when she freaked out at the top of the slide. Well, it's my duty to show her how it's done. Of course I'll do that for my daughter.

The slide is just like a gateway, a slippery slope if you like. Before long I'm queuing behind children to ride the flying fox. My daughter tells me she's not interested in riding it but I feel compelled to show her it's not scary. I don't want to be a hypocrite do I? I'm sure a few parents can see straight through my actions. That's fine, as long as they are judging me from a distance and not contributing to creating longer queues.

My daughter is fast approaching the age of three and I want to give her space while still protecting her from stray dogs and predators. So I do what any caring father would do. I let her explore the ground level while I start to climb on the playground equipment. And you know what? She still looks up to me.

Follow David on Twitter: @bigkamo