Here I sit, at this indoor play place.
It smells a bit like smelly sock here. Children whom I don’t know, are coming dangerously close to me with their dirty, sweaty, bare feet. One just asked me if I could help him untie his shoes. “Um, go ask your mom, bud.”
It’s loud. The lights are too bright, and it’s a little too hot, but for the most part, I’m a happy camper. I have my iced coffee in hand, my kids are able to fend for themselves (mostly) and I am left to sit here and do my favorite thing…people watch.
Ahhhh. A rare moment of “peace.” Look how happy my kids are. Gleeful little banshees. I love when they all three stick together. Such a cute little pack of brothers.
And right over there…yup. It’s no surprise. There’s NERVOUS MOM! Good thing my kids are playing far from yours right now. Mine and their antics would make your delicate little heart race. Right now, you are acting like you are listening to what your friend has to say, but your eyes never once leave your child. Your “mmm hmms” and “that’s awesome’s” are coming in all the wrong places, because you aren’t actually listening…you’re much too preoccupied with trying to listen for the first sign of disaster. You jump every few seconds when you think your kid is about to fall. And since you won’t venture more than a foot away from them, you actually might catch them if they do.
Whipping out the hand sanitizer, not too far away, it’s GERMAPHOBE mom. Germaphobe mom is only here because her kids have been begging her for the last three years to come to an indoor play place, and today, they finally broke her. She is armed with hand sanitizer AND sanitizing wipes, and she will deplete her entire supply before she leaves today. Give it all you’ve got, Germaphobe Mom, but at the end of the day, the foam pit your kids are playing in is filled with more staph, strep, and norovirus than it is foam…it’s best to just not think about it. My kid is probably eating goldfish off the floor and drinking from someone else’s sippy cup as we speak.
Where ARE my kids? Better go see.
“Hey, watch this! Hey excuse me, excuse me (tug on my shirt), look at this!”
Ahhh…I don’t know how to break this to you, KID WHOSE OWN PARENTS DON’T PLAY WITH HIM, but I’m not the SWEET MOM WHO IS KIND AND ATTENTIVE EVEN TO KIDS WHO AREN’T HER OWN.
“Cool trick, see ya!”
Where are my kids??
There’s one…playing in the water fountain. Another one comes running out of the bathroom barefoot. Still no sign of the third, but he’s eight, so pending he hasn’t encountered GUY WHO SEEMS TO BE HERE WITHOUT KIDS AND NO ONE IS REALLY SURE WHY, he’s probably fine.
Redirect the two bathroom dwellers, try not to even think about what may be on the bottom of their feet, and send them back towards the actual play equipment…you know, the stuff we paid $40 to come play on, (as opposed to the free toilet, sink and toilet paper rolls we have at home.)
Pass the eight year old…he’s happily playing with the new friends he’s made, and abandoned his brothers.
This may mean slightly more parenting is now involved on my part. If he’s not gonna supervise them, I suppose I should.
So I move my drink to a table closer to where the two little ones are playing. So far, still together, and still happy.
Decide to seize the rare moment where everyone is happy, entertained, and not needing anything, and catch up on some emails, and text messages…you know…the kind that “required-me-to-think-before-responding-so-I-never-responded-and-now-it’s-been-three-weeks” kind. Pull up Text #1, start to think through how to respond, and then…oh no…NO…I can spot her from a mile away…here comes…
CHATTY MOM. Chatty mom is actually incredibly friendly and great, and
usually/ sometimes/occasionally has something interesting to say, but it’s just…well….since my kids are actually leaving me alone, I was just really hoping to be LEFT alone…like, completely. But ok, fine. Here we go.
Ten minutes later, I’ve lost all train of thought (guess that text can wait another week), and also, my kids, so time to move on.
I find them playing in the ball pit. I’ll sit on the edge and interact with them for a bit, lest MY kid becomes KID WHOSE OWN PARENTS DON’T PLAY WITH THEM.
Another mom sits down next to me, and lo and behold, I become CHATTY MOM. Luckily she is as well, and we have fun. Good thing this wasn’t STARE AT HER PHONE THE WHOLE TIME MOM (what’s she doing, anyway? Catching up on texts and emails?)
Regretfully, I must tell fellow CHATTY MOM goodbye, as I go search for my kids again. Can’t remember where my iced coffee is at this point, but last time I was able to sneak in a quick sip, the ice was melting anyway in this sweltering inferno, so it’s probably a lost cause.
Eeek. Well, there’s my baby, and there’s my iced coffee. And there’s my four year old…he’s just pushed a kid down to the ground. Which situation to address first? Out of the corner of my eye, I see HORRIFIED MOM. She’s not the parent of the kid that got pushed down…just a disgusted observer to my shit show.
I yell over my shoulder at the baby to “put mama’s coffee down!!,” while dashing over to the crying child sprawled on the floor, my smirking son hovering above him. Here comes his mama. I hold my breath. Is she gonna be, SENSE OF HUMOR/UNDERSTANDING MOM (“Girl, my kids do the same thing”) That would be a best-case scenario. NERVOUS MOM or HORRIFIED MOM (jaw to the floor, judging eyes), and I may have a hard time.
She’s not necessarily any of those things, but what she is is BACKPACK MOM. Backpack mom instantly whips out an ice pack and a bandaid (neither of which are actually required for this situation, but it does seem to make the kid feel better), a lollipop to distract from the pain, and a cup of water. I quickly peek further into the bag and see a small first aid kid, an extra outfit, a refrigerator, and a coffee-maker. Backpack mom notices my kid is missing one of their socks, and offers a spare set out of her back. HOT MESS MOM (that’s me!) takes her up on it, and after apologizing for the whole ordeal, shuffles off, thinking “I seriously need to get my shit together. Maybe Pinterest has some ideas to help me.”
Because there is a small dribble-trail of iced coffee, guiding the way, I have no trouble finding my baby. I spot him just in time to witness an older kid plow him over.
No worries! As it turns out, this HOT MESS MOM is also SENSE OF HUMOR/UNDERSTANDING MOM. My kid is regularly attacked by his own older brothers. Fortunately for you, I wasn’t ONLY CHILD MOM. ONLY CHILD MOM has a kid who has yet to sustain ANY injury, but just wait, OCM. One day you will have a third child, and he will be walking around with half of his tooth missing, and you won’t even have a clue how or when it happened.
As if my self-esteem didn’t take enough of a beating from my encounters with HORRIFIED MOM and BACKPACK MOM…lo and behold, there’s HOT MOM. (Not HOT MESS MOM, mind you. No mess here). HOT MOM, are you here hoping to scoop up a HOT DAD? Or is all of …this…for the benefit of us EXERCISE CLOTHES MOMS? What time did you have to get UP this morning to LOOK like that? You probably wake up looking like that. I hate you, but also I want your legs. And your makeup tips.
Suddenly, there’s a shriek and a blur, and I catch a glimpse of what appears to be a shirtless child run by. It’s WHOSE KID IS THIS, kid. “Whose kid is THAT??,” everyone (including me) wonders.
Mine. He’s mine. And it’s time to get the hell out of here.
Fun was had by all, and I can hardly wait for next time.
(Truth be told, I’ve been ALL of these moms. Except BACKPACK MOM. Backpack Mom is out of my league. A lofty goal I could never attain to).