Happy families at the park

Last weekend, we were at the local Botanical Gardens for our friend’s son’s 1st birthday.  He is a ‘baby’ 1 year old – not walking yet, placid, sweet, and ever the perfect little boy, just sits and plays, unlike my two.  It was a fairly ordinary day, nothing spectacular, Norman came a bit late as he had done some overtime and was driving straight from work.
On the way out there I stopped at a local market, and saw a friend there from Primary school, who I haven’t spoken to in years.  She has two daughters, and she is really lovely to talk to.  Halfway through our conversation in the middle of the market, Little Will all of a sudden starts screaming at the top of his lungs “My hair!!!! my hair!!!!! my hair!!!!! its ruined!!!!!!!! my hair is ruined!!!!!!” Over and over and over again.  I finally worked out what he was saying, but just couldn’t shut him up.  Every woman in the small boutique market had now turned around to look at the maniac child and his incompetent mother, so I picked him up.  The only way I got him to calm down was by asking a couple of women if they thought his hair was ok – of course they said  “Yes! Its beautiful!” and he accepted that, thank god.  No one had touched his hair, no one had walked past, no one had even looked at him.
Life is….. difficult…. at the moment.  I am exhausted from constant study, picking up the slack from hubby since he’s been on night shift, the online store, and then trying to keep the kids in line.  Dinner is rarely a huge affair, usually the two kids get pasta or toasted sandwiches, while I have some tuna on crackers, this is all I have time for, and the house looks like an A-bomb went off in it.   Norman and I are like ships in the night, he leaves at 1230am and kisses me goodbye as I glare at the mac and grunt ‘see ya’ back at him before answering another email from a customer who obviously has no brain.
Anyway, back to the 1st birthday party.  We get to the gardens, Little Will proceeds to get on his red trike and take off down the hill, without lessons on braking first.  I have to drop two folding chairs, a camera, picnic blankets, the present and my handbag on the ground, and take off after him, before he ended up in the rainforest, or in the river or something.  We then take 10 minutes to get across the park (of course I have parked at the wrong end) as Little Will is having a spack because he can’t ride his bike on the thick grass.  He’s trying to push it, but it’s taking off in different directions and won’t go where he pushes it.  I would have loved a blood pressure reading at about this stage.
We finally get to the party, I see my friends, attempt to look organised and the kids head off to establish their rank in the pecking order with the other littlies.  Norman finally arrives in a foul mood because he’s tired as usual and Little Will has already had a mini-spack at him in the short time it took him to get from the carpark to the picnic.
We’re sitting trying to talk and Little Will decides he wants a drink.  No worries, Norman gets out a popper from our esky.  Nope.  Little Will wants a can of softdrink from the host’s big communal esky.
No Little Will.
But I want a softdrink!
No, have a popper.
BUT I WANT A SOFTDRINK.
Little Will you can have a popper, or have nothing.
Little Will decided to have nothing, and takes off with his arms crossed and yelling out “You’re an idiot! – Just shut up!”
I die of embarassment and thank god that I’m at least wearing sunglasses to hide behind.
5 minutes later Little Will heads back to see us, a big orange ring around his lips and clutching a half drunk can of orange softdrink.  Apparently a well meaning adult was in the esky getting some drinks for someone else and innocently gave Little Will the drink he asked for. Shit.  He is bad enough without ultra-sugary orange softdrink added into the mix!  At home we would have removed the drink immediately, but at a packed family birthday party, decided (wrongfully?) to take the subtle approach.  We attempt to take the can off Little Will whilst maintaining a low profile.  He has a spack, Norman is about to explode by this point, I can just see it, his jaw is clenched and his eyes are flashing, his face is starting to go red and I look away, so I don’t get a glimpse of the steam about to come out of his ears.
Little Will puts the can down to go and talk to another kid, so Norman chugs most of the remainder in the can, we both then agree that Little Will will realise and brace ourselves for another explosion.  Fortunately he doesn’t realise about the can of softdrink being empty, but only because he arrives back behind us having a screaming tantrum, bright red and yelling at the top of his lungs – across the entire party – “I’m doing a poo in my pants!!!!” Over and over and over again, like a bad parenting dream that won’t end.  The only way to shut him up was removal, so Norman whisks him off to the reeking long drop toilets to clean up the mess.  At that stage I realise I’ve left the bag with the wet wipes and spare jocks at home – Little Will has had diarrhea for the last two days, so all we keep saying to him is ‘no farting’.  If you want to fart, go to the toilet.  Obviously he thought he would let one off whilst playing soccer with the other kids, and lost the lot.
Norman gets back eventually, with Little Will who is having another spack, because dad made him put his shorts on with no jocks underneath.
At this stage I was ready to pick up my keys and drive away.  I don’t know where, anywhere.  Anywhere where Little Will was not.  Anywhere where Leah’s backchatting 8 year old mouth was not.  I just smile and shake my head at my friend who is trying not to laugh at Little Will holding his pants out from his arse like a teepee because of his diarrhea rash.
The orange softdrink has well and truly kicked in now.  I offer Little Will my iphone, just to shut him up and keep him occupied.  He doesn’t want my iphone, there’s not enough games on it.  He wants daddy’s iphone.  Daddy doesn’t want to give him his iphone. I give Norman ‘the look’ and he hands his iphone over, muttering under his breath.  What a happy family..  Leah spots the iphone and flaps in for a sticky beak over her brother’s shoulder, he swipes at her, she hits back and they end up wrestling on someone’s picnic blanket at our feet like a pair of bloody ferals.
Lunch is served eventually, and I take Leah up to get a sausage, she spends 5 minutes looking for a non-existant can of softdrink in the communal esky of misery and loses our spot in the line, so we get stuck behind 127 (not quite) other people.  I get back to my chair and get most of the way through lunch when Little Will decides he wants to pee.  I can’t even remember where Norman was at this stage – perhaps hiding behind a rock somewhere, rocking back and forth? but I take him ever so firmly by the arm and with all my might have to resist screaming once we get behind a row of cars, where I make him pee in the garden, just so I didn’t have to go back to the damn long drop toilets.
After lunch, Norman decides to take the kids on an epic walk through the botanical gardens and misses the cake cutting, the photos, the dessert, everything.  I have finished my dessert, cleared up all the mess, have all our stuff packed ready to leave, and tents, BBQ’s etc are all being packed up around us, when Norman comes ambling back up the road with the two kids, who then both spack out when they find out they missed the birthday cake etc.  I hold it together enough to say goodbye to the party hosts, then get to the car, throw the shit in the back, get the kids in the car and proceed to try and have a one-sided domestic dispute in my loudest hushed voice at Norman.  As usual, he puts his head down, his blinkers up and rides it out until I have run out of  swear words.
I get in the car, turn the music up and tell the kids that if either of them makes a single sound prior to arriving home that they will be left on the side of the road.  Leah can’t help herself and proceeds to blow a balloon up and down several times, making splattery fart sounds with it, if she’s not allowed to talk.
We pull into the driveway and I sit in the car for half an hour, wondering what I have done wrong, and what I could do to fix my life.  The guy next door was out working in the garden and must have been wondering what I was doing sitting in the car for half an hour, so I go upstairs and despite having a 1500 word essay, a 15 minute oral presentation and numerous other bits and pieces due the next day, I get into bed and sleep until 6pm.  x Miranda
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