By Anna Rose
Today was the first time in ages catching up with a good friend. “We love playing ‘Macca’s Drive Through’ at the playground! Do your kids like McDonald’s?” she asked.
“Kind of. They know it as ‘the bakery with a playground’. We used to go there in the winter sometimes, until I got sick of rescuing them from the climbing gym.” This was no joke. I’ve been up and down that grimy tower so many times I’m surprised they haven’t posted a ‘You must be shorter than this line to play’ sign.
My friend laughed, patted me on the back affectionally and told me I was amazing. This confused me.
Is it amazing to attempt to leave the restaurant with the same number of children you brought in? Is it amazing that the structure did not collapse under the weight of a thrice-pregnant woman?
I shrugged and added, “Well it wasn’t nearly as bad as the time Ethan pooed his pants while stuck up the top of the bookshop café playgym.”
There is the reaction of a mother who is fabulous and capable in every way, proudly rewarding her child with Lego sets when he successfully defecates in the potty.
I remember doing that. We had charts, holographic stickers, super cool licensed undies and rewards for achieving bigger milestones. At certain points, it was awesome.
But we also had a baby in cloth nappies who hated sleep, two little boys toilet training simultaneously and no spare attention to focus on each child individually. Most days, it was not awesome. Most of the time, we did not appear to be competent parents in public places. Many days, it felt like those kids were making every effort to humiliate us in public, and destroy everything we loved at home.