When I take the kids out and about on little adventures, I am often shocked at the amount of mums who are on their phones whilst their kids are playing. No judgement passed because I used to be one of them, until I had a bit of a lightbulb moment courtesy of the 7 year old. I was meant to be pushing him on the swing but I was also scrolling through Facebook. After asking me 4 times to push him on the swing, he said " You love facebook more then you love pushing me on the swing, don't you!!".. (and for the record I do love Facebook more.… pushing you on the swing is shit..) It kinda made me realise that I was taking the kids to the park to spend time with them and physically I was there but mentally I was stalking the crap out of people on Facebook. Don't get me wrong, I still take my phone with me when we go places, but it's to take photos of the kids and of hot dads with their kids in the background (i kid husband, i kid…)
Anyway… where was I?
So we were at the park and I had packed a small lunch for the kids to enjoy. There wasn't much shade around and we were lucky to have scored a place under the shade of a tree. We were just tucking into our mini qunioa bites, when two ladies with their little families decided to join us in the shade. And when I say join, I mean invade because they were pretty much on our laps. Their blanket was covering half of ours and her knee was touching mine when she sat down… I didn't like this, as I am the type of person who doesn't like people in my personal space. I like to have my little 1m bubble keeping me safe (unless I'm drunk, then I will put you in a headlock and talk to you a cm away from your face, just ask my friends..).
I tried to make a joke of how close we were sitting, to make her aware of it ( so she would hopefully move) by saying " I usually don't let people sit on my lap until they have bought me a drink first but hey, here we are." She looked at me and laughed and said, "sorry this is the only shaded area, I hope you don't mind that we have invaded". I wanted to say "umm, yeh i kinda do mind.. but that would be rude.
We sat next to each other, pretending that there was some invisible wall between us, which meant we didn't have to actually interact with each other. That was until she started getting her kids food out of the bag. The first thing she pulled out was a box of smarties. It was as if the 1 year old had turned into some type of blood hound. I'm sure she smelt them before she saw them because she turned around and screamed "MINE!!" Oh shit!! I was having visions of her pillaging the confectionary isle at Woolies and knew this was not going to end well. I tried to turn her around but she was not having a bar of it. I'm sure at one stage her whole head did a complete 360 so she could see the smarties, I was half expecting her to start speaking in tounges and crawl up the monkey bar frames like a possessed spider.
I tried to make a quick exist away from the smarties, but the lady passed the 1 year old her own box (they were those little fun sized ones). I tried to wrestle them out of the 1 year olds hand but she initiated her grip of death and was not letting go of those chocolates for anything in the world. I was half expecting her to bring out some WWF wrestling moves and body slam me into the picnic rug, thats how determined she was to keep the smarties. I told the lady that I don't usually let my kids have sugar, so this might not end well. What I'm pretty sure the lady heard come out of my mouth was "hey would you like to have a debate about kids and sugar." Im not sure if this lady was the CEO of some sugar factory because holy shit, did she have an opinion on it!! She looked at me and said "NO OFFENCE". Straight away, I knew I was going to be coping it.
In a nutshell, her conversation went along the lines of:
"Apparently what I am doing is creating an atmosphere of guilt and shame over food. No child should have to be restricted when it comes to any types of foods. Children will make good choices if you let them and the more I try and take it away from them, then the more I am creating a sort of mystique and appeal which will backfire and make them want access to these forbidden foods"
She then shook her head and said "It makes me really angry when parents go on these diets and expect children to stop being children and eat the same as their parents" "Adults can barely cope with these restrictions yet we expect our kids to be able to cope!!"
I didn't want to bite, but I said " thats your opinion and I respect it, but I know that my intentions are to be a positive role model for my kids and to ensure that they don't become slaves to sugar addictions and chemical sweeteners and to Ronald McDonald and that bastard Colonel Sanders (once again, trying to be funny and make light of it and it doesn't come off at all).
Apparently she interpreted this as "Fruc you, hippie, lets argue!"
She got all angry faced and growled "are you calling me a bad parent because I let my kids have junk food?"
I said "not at all,
She then said "Are you saying I'm a shit role model"
I said, " I dunno, i've known you for 2 minutes, you tell me.."
You see thats where I get myself into a lot of trouble… I never know when to shut down the conversation by saying something that diffuses the situation. I think I get it from my Dad. He always taught me that "Right is Might" don't back down or hide who you are if you know that what you are doing or what you stand for it right. Pretty sure he was talking about morals and other things.. not arguments about sugar...
Lets note that during this conversation, the one year old had turned into Gollum and had crawled to the opposite end of the picnic blanket with her back turned to me, cowering over the box of smarties and I think I heard her whisper "my precious…"
My new best friend then informed me that she was a child psycologist and I'm damaging my kids by this lifestyle and that my 1 year old will grow up with an eating disorder because she will binge eat all the junk food I won't let her have.
I had to shut this conversation down asap because I was feeling that little twitch I get when I am about to lose my shit over something and do something I regret… Like that time I got road rage when this lady cut me off and then nearly sideswiped my car. I wound down my window to yell something out at her with the finger to accompany it, only to realise after my first f-bomb that it was an old nun who taught me at school….(I'm so going to hell)
I thanked her for my free consultation and wished her all the best and said" look this is getting a little awkward so we might just move on."
That was her cue to say something like "no worries or whatever even". But no she had to do something that pushed me to go from sugar free mum to the Incredible Hulk. She threw a packet of smarties to the 7 year old and said "here darling, sorry you have to put up with your mum!" OH NO SHE DIDNT!!
I would like to say that I just walked away elegantly, like the mature lady that I am and that I didn't snatch the smarties out of my sons hand and peg them into the distance …( At least I didnt drop any f-bombs or anything.)
We packed up our stuff without another word being exchanged and walked away. (go me!!!)
When we got to the car the 7 year old asked me why I threw the smarties away that the lady gave him. I told him that we never accept candy off strangers.. He was like "wow good thinking mum, it could have been poison". I was like thats right buddy, I'm pretty sure those ones were definitely full of poison. As we were driving away I started doing that thing where you replay what has just happened in your mind and think of all these cool things that you could have said. When all of a sudden the 7 year old let out the biggest scream to STOP!! My heart seriously nearly popped out of my chest. It wasn't a play scream, it was one of those serious screams of pain or fear. It was horrible!! He then said " MUM!! QUICK SHE IS EATING IT!! MUMMMMMM HELP HER!!!!
Holy frucballs, my mind couldn't put what he was saying into context and for some reason I thought he was saying that the 1 year old was choking. I stopped the car and jumped out, opened the back door to find the 1 year old just sitting there all happy with the 7 year old in her face screaming at her to spit it out.. Yes I had forgotten in my haste of getting the f-away from my new friends, that baby gollum still had her smarties that she was protecting. Those dam evil poison smarties.
I grabbed the packet out of her mittens and poured out the remaining 3 smarties into my hand and threw them onto the road. In doing so I unleashed the power scream of a thousand demons from the pits of hell.
I high fived the 7 year old for being such a great caring brother and told the 1 year old to stop being so dramatic (I'm sure she snarled back at me and recited some voodoo curse). I had to really fight the urge to not stop in at the bottleo on the way home and grab a bottle of scotch or two.
When we got finally got home (nothing drags out a 5min car trip then a screaming demon child) I told the 7 year old that I love him dearly and that I'm sorry he doesn't get to have all the junk food and stuff that other kids have but I promise it will be worth it for him one day. He just shrugged his shoulders and said "thats ok, if you eat lots of sugar you will feel yucky and sick remember?" I said "yeh I know!" He then said and plus you can get pimples on your ass…" I went "what??" He went "yeh 3 thousand of them, i read it in a book…"
And I will leave it at that…. Happy Monday!!