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The Great Park Debate

Original post made by Jennifer Fogliani on Nov 6, 2011

My older sister, who has three teenage children, likes to remind me that while raising two toddlers is tough at times, I should enjoy each moment, even the seemingly difficult ones.

I tried to remember my sister's advice as I was stopped at a red light on El Camino and Rengstorff. Josie and Owen were screaming in the back seat, arguing over which park they preferred.

It was just a few months ago that Josie and Owen made up cute names for each park in Mountain View. Now, they not only knew the parks' proper names, but they each had their favorite.

"Cuesta Park!" Josie yelled.

"Cooper Park!" Owen yelled, one octave louder.

"No...Cuesta!" Josie screamed.

"No...Cooper!" Owen screamed back. Before Josie could get in one more Cuesta, Owen leaned towards her car seat and screamed the longest and loudest scream I've ever heard.

Josie burst into tears. Owen sat back in his car seat since clearly the argument was over.

"Enough," I said in as calm a voice as I could manage. "Here's the plan. We're going to drive by Cuesta Park first because it's closest. We will let Owen take a look and see if he's interested." My back seat planners nodded in agreement.

A few minutes later, I pulled the car over near the gazebo at Cuesta Park.

"See that fun park," Josie said. "Want to go there? It's so cool, Owen."

"No. Cooper Park," Owen said, with a hint of hesitation. Josie capitalized. "Look at the swings and all the slides. You will love it!"

"Is that Cooper Park?" Owen asked even more hesitantly.

"Yes. That's Cooper Park." Josie responded while she nodded her head enthusiastically.

"Josie!" I said in complete shock.

"What?" Josie said with a shrug of her shoulders. "He can call it Cooper Park if he wants."

Josie and Owen simultaneously undid their seat belts and jumped out of their car seats. I got out, opened their doors and watched in disbelief as the two ran happily towards Cuesta Park.

I sat on a park bench while Josie and Owen played together in the sand. I couldn't help but wonder whether I should worry that Owen had screamed so loudly at his sister or that Josie had lied so well to manipulate the situation.

I thought again of my sister and her 3 teenagers. Before I know it, Owen will be screaming about who gets the car on Friday night and Josie will be lying about her plans on Saturday night.

I pushed my worries aside and spent the afternoon playing with my kids. I decided to save my worries and my energy for the years ahead. Clearly, I was going to need them.

Comments (7)

Posted by Rosi, a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2011 at 9:28 am

Great story! And for the record, I recently read in Scientific American, that what adults call "lying" is actually, in young children, a developmentally normal behavior. Kiddies are trying to deal with their world, get what they want, and somehow manage to persuade others in order to get their way. Manipulating a younger sibling is normal, and yes, the teen years will be interesting!


Posted by bikes2work, a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm

When you started your story, you were only a few blocks from Rengstorff Park. Why not try something new? It is a nice park.


Posted by Jennifer Fogliani, a resident of Whisman Station
on Nov 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm

@ bikes2work

Yes - we love Rengstorff Park too - thought about resolving the issue by taking them there but we didn't have our cardboard tops to slide down - that's their favorite thing to do there. They did ask today for a trip there so I made sure to put the tops in the car.

Thanks for the tip!


Posted by Jane, a resident of Whisman Station
on Nov 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Can you please get rid of the picture of this lady and her kids on the home page? It's been on there for ages - freshen the page up...geez


Posted by Observer, a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 9, 2011 at 10:49 am

@Jane, I believe it's there because it's a blog that is a regular feature of the Voice, and the photo is Jennifer's blog logo, or "avatar." It's being used the way online versions of all newspapers use the photo of a regular columnist to people can immediately find the link to a column or blog they follow.


Posted by Andrea Gemmet, Mountain View Voice Editor
on Nov 9, 2011 at 11:38 am

Andrea Gemmet is a registered user.

@Observer: You are exactly right. Thanks for taking the time to explain it to Jane.


Posted by Dose Of Reality, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 9, 2011 at 1:40 pm

@ Observer and Andrea, I agree with Jane- all she is saying is to "freshin the page up" this Mountain View, home to Google and many other innovative companies. The picture looks dated and at the very least should be changed once in a while....And her stories are lame, most people I know have to deal with "real life" things and this chick is worried about what park her kids are going to play at and what coffee she will try next? Get real.


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