Not content with conquering the business world. Done with the dinner parties and wine bars, avoiding questions of marriage and notions of babies. Until now.
Striding past me in their beige perfect pram occupied by one.
I, a few years down the line, stagger past with my buggy weighed down with jackets, plastic bags and anything I’ve managed to pick up along the way.
Passed the brasseries and quaint little pubs, I prefer to picnic in large open spaces where people are few.
Off to the park for some respite and to gather with equally stressed, sleep deprived and irate parents. There’s a reason for stereotypes and cliches. And if you don’t fit this bill, then you have a nanny or hired help of some kind. We’re all watching over our precious offsprings and glaring at one another, it’s territorial.
Stepping across the boundary and into the playpark, the babes are off in hot pursuit of a swing or a sea-saw, stamping their authority among their kind. Darwin’s theory played out.
Princes and princesses, one or two precocious parents and we’re all fenced in. We’re in one of Nappy Valley’s favourite haunts. There’s lots of oohing and ahhing and niceties. It’s very child focused. Well, it is a park. I’m eyeing up the coffee stand, ready to get a caffeine hit to get me through.
Hot on the heels of my little cubs, ready to diffuse potential situations, and it isn’t long before there is a situation at the sea-saw. A coveted apparatus. There’s a child parked on one side and my five-year old is tipping the balance to the other side, as one might expect.
It’s a tandem made for two. Not in these parts. Speaking through the medium of her child, the mother is purporting that there’s a big boy on the other side.
Hello, I’m right here.
“Just wait a moment until the big boy gets off and you can have your shot.” But sea-saws require two in our parts.
Rising above my patronising and selfish opponent, I too embrace the medium of my child to strike back.
“He’s just a little boy, be gentle. He’ll be off in a minute. Just give him a little shot.”
Parks are precarious places, if it’s not dogs it’s kids.
We each place our hands on the opposing sides of the sea-saw, without making eye contact and the games begin.
“That’s it, up and down, each waiting for the other to crack.”
Total glee as my opponent’s offspring throws the first tantrum. Ha ha, your brat’s not sharing. I’m quite simply delighted and I think I’m smirking.
It could have gone either way, it was touch and go for a moment as I thought my five-year old was about to start. But he didn’t let the side down. Ice-cream all round.
The shrieking continues as the boy is scraped off the sea-saw, howling as he goes. He’s not for budging as I watch on in total amusement.
His hands are being pried off by his mother who’s obviously annoyed about the architectural concept of a sea-saw and the notion that it requires two.
Ready in the wings is my three year old, rubbing salt in the wounds by hopping on.
The dad’s back and they are both pleading for calm. It’s a spectacle. Arms flying and legs kicking, I’ve been on the receiving end but today I’m the spectator.
And it feels naughty, even childish, but oh so good.
By Felicity Fox ©