We are very lucky to have recently had 2 new parks built in our town. They are wonderfully well equipped, easy to access and, of course, free.
Sounds good huh. Well in general it is, the kids love the exciting new bits of kit: sunken trampoline, zip wire, climbing wall, assault course etc. I love seeing them running around and getting some much needed exercise while they play.
The other evening we went to one of the parks, I was packed with a flask of freshly made coffee and some indulgent biscuits and the boys were stuffed with pent up energy. I found a bench and they found a set of swingy things that all swing towards each other in the middle and yet somehow don’t hit, it was all good.
So, I poured some coffee and commenced biscuit munching when I heard a small child say:
“Mummy can you push me?” I looked up to see a 3/4 year old boy on one of the swings, he was wearing a grubby spiderman suit and I exchanged a glance with my OH and remembered fondly the days when one of my boys refused to wear anything other than his spidey suit.
And then the boys mum, who was swinging really, really high at the time said:
“No I f****** can’t you’ll ruin your f****** trainers you little s***.”
Honest to god. Word for word.
Worst thing was the little boy didn’t flinch, didn’t seem in the least bit phased. My two boys literally stopped swinging in mid air and their faces registered shock as they both turned to look at me in disbelief.
The little boy then got off the swing as he clearly hadn’t ever been taught to swing and she certainly wasn’t going to push him. This put him right in the path of the other swings and I felt myself tense as I prepared to run and grab him, but it was ok, she had it covered. “No, f****** stay there you stupid f****** s***!” she screamed as she carried on swinging.
My boys came over to me “Did you hear what that mummy said?” they asked in hushed voices.
We moved further down the park and the little boy played near us for 30-40 minutes while she bounced on the trampoline, pausing only to bellow “of course I can do a f****** back flip you c***” at her boyfriend.
Fortunately, it started raining which gave us an excuse to take the boys home. As we walked back to the car one of them said to me “I’m glad you don’t swear at us.”
As much as I did momentarily think to myself that actually I’m not that bad a parent, the over riding thought I had was that the little boy didn’t really stand a chance in life.