The sun is shining. The birds are singing. The kids are screaming like sugared-up animals accidentally freed from their cages at the zoo, running in zigzags around one another in a dizzying display of youthful anarchy. It is a right of passage for every parent, these trips to the playground during which both injuries and the acquisition of communicable illnesses will happen, but—hey—at least they’re not parked on the couch with an iPad, right? Just like you know you’ll be leaving there with a layer of dust up to your shins and a pocket full of “treasures” (i.e. tiny bits of beloved random garbage), there is a bevy of other things all mums know are going to happen during your visit. Like these things:
1. The jungle gym will become a pirate ship then a submarine then a fighter jet then a castle.
2. A king will take his throne on that castle, then within minutes that king will be dethroned by a girl with bits of last autumn’s leaves in her hair.
3. Someone will fly off the merry-go-round like a terrified sock monkey then, after a quick cry, say, “LET’S DO THAT AGAIN.”
4. Colourful cartoon Band-Aids will be applied to various children.
5. Snacks will be requested no less than 72 times. The small humans asking you for them might not even belong to you, but that does nothing to stifle their determination to get free crackers.
6. A piece of clothing you TOLD HIM not to lose will, without a doubt, be lost forever.
7. Mulch will be thrown like the filthy confetti it is.
8. Mulch will be eaten by kids of all ages.
9. Mulch will be put into tiny pockets and not found again until after those clothes have run through the washing machine.
10. Someone will run up the slide one million times in a row.
11. Someone will be too scared to go down the slide, forcing a parent to climb up there to retrieve him.
12. Swings will be “hogged.”
13. A New Mum will show up and shadow her kid with arms stretched out at the ready, terrified of the countless ways he could get maimed by fun.
14. A Mum of Many will relax on the bench shouting, “I SAW THAT” in the direction of those kids every 15 minutes or so to remind them that they are not invisible.
15. A granddad will arrive and make a point to adorably brag to her about his grandkids.
16. Toddler twins will arrive with one parent and run in opposite directions the entire time.
17. You will tell the kids they are leaving in 15 minutes.
18. You will tell the kids they are leaving in 10 minutes.
19. You will tell the kids they are leaving in 5 minutes.
20. You will tell the kids they are leaving now, the kids will FREAK OUT that they had NO IDEA they were leaving so soon, and beg for five more minutes with a desperation that’d make Shakespeare proud.
21. You will spend the next five minutes getting close enough to give each kid the “You Just WAIT Until We Get In the Car” face that scares them into shouting a quick “Bye!” to their playmates and hustling to the car where they will beg to come back again tomorrow. And they will.
More mum truths: