“Take the kids to the park!” they said. “It will be FUN” they said…
Yesterday, I took my 4 kids, who are all under 6, out to meet a friend at the local park for a picnic and play. It was a fairly big deal – the first time I’d ever taken all of them out for the park experience. I spent all morning packing up the picnic lunch, filling the water bottles and locating sunscreen and hats for everyone. I also packed lots of wipes, nappies and a ball to play with.
At the other end, I unloaded the four of them, applied sunscreen and hats to the big kids as they climbed out of the car, and buckled the twins into their pram. Then I loaded the nappy and picnic bags on and we were ready. So far, I thought, I was all over mummy savvy.
The toilet fiasco
A mere 2 minutes into our walk, Miss P needed a wee. I begged her to hold on until we got to the park, which I knew had public toilets. But this child, who was known for wetting herself in public, was desperate. Of course. My anxiety reached new heights as I glanced around the busy main road that offered no shelter for us to discretely go about our business. Then I had visions of us crossing the road with Miss P wetting herself mid-walk…no thank you. After she [understandably] flat-out refused my pleas for her to wear one of the babies’ nappies, I parked the pram and we chanced it behind a tree.
The perils of the road cross
So it turns out that commandeering two small children and a huge pram next to a busy intersection containing multi-lane traffic is pretty unnerving. I already wanted to go home. But then came my next doozy. As we crossed, with Mr B and Miss P holding onto each side of the pram, the ball popped out of the picnic bag and onto the road. Can you guess what happened next? It’s not good. You’ll judge me for this one – and I don’t blame you. As the ball bounced beside me, I made the split second decision to take both my hands off the pram to grab for it, leaving my two big kids holding onto the pram, in the middle of the crossing. Thankfully, a lady that was crossing with us grabbed hold of the handle bar, probably wondering what the [email protected]*k I was doing, taking my hands and eyes off a moving pram with two small children attached. Right beside a major intersection. I’m not winning any parenting awards today my friends.
Where are the kids?
After a big play and picnic lunch, it was time for the now-restless twins to have a wander around. Now, I’ve been to the park with the twins before, and found it quite easy to watch them both toddle about, exploring their surroundings. But trying to do this while tending to two other kids AND having a conversation with my friend was almost impossible really difficult. Both babies were fast and curious, and with both of them heading in different directions, it was hard work to keep track of them. I wish I was one of those cool, relaxed mums who could just chill and let the kids do their thang. But it turns out I’m not. Anxiety: dizzying heights.
The other toilet fiasco
Then Miss P announced to the playground that she needed a poo. Gah!! Every time we’re out, this child wants a poo! So I packed the twins back up into their pram and left them and Mr B with my friend while I took Miss P to the skankiest hellhole set of toilets I’ve ever seen public toilets. As I stood outside the only working cubicle, brushing at little shit-flies buzzing around me I silently prayed to the rotting ceiling of the toilet block. Please get me home. Please get me home. How long do other kids take to do a number 2? Mine takes aaaages. After 15 minutes, I was begging her to hurry up. Then the blasted thing wouldn’t flush away! This story just keeps getting better. There was a fairly respectable-looking lady waiting to use the loo. The same one that still had Miss P’s log in the bottom of it. ‘At least you know it came from someone cute!’ I said, trying to be all charming. *cringe
The relief of packing-up time
Thankfully, by the time we got back to the playground, it was time to pack up. I couldn’t get us out of there fast enough. And by that I mean, I really couldn’t get us out of there fast at all. The twins were safely contained in the pram, but the big kids were tired and hot, which meant the walk (and road crossing) back to the car was long, painful and just really hideous. When the car finally came into view, it was like an oasis in the desert. Only I couldn’t run to it because of the snail-paced children I was with.
And then we were home. I got the tired twins into their beds which rendered them contained and quiet, and put the big kids in the bath – contained and clean. I made a coffee – contained and caffeinated – and felt like I’d just been in a marathon.
From now on, here are the activities we will be doing as a family for the next 6 to 9 months:
- Watching DVDs
- Reading books
- Playing indoor hide and seek
- Colouring in
- Making cubby houses
- Playing board games
- Building Lego
Family outings = highly overrated.