When we go out, my pockets are quickly filled as I am handed miscellaneous goods such as rocks, sticks, lolly wrappers, and, most recently, a condom packet. Disgusting. But so sweet that he cares for the environment and wants to clean up Australia. Good on ya, Alfie.
We are regulars at a local park and love kicking back in the sandpit and doing the playground activity lap (even though I am extremely challenged by it). We take props, such as a bucket and spade, a truck, or even a little car to push around and make ‘brrrm’ sounds with. It’s bliss – especially if there’s a group of young men playing basketball on the courts. Fresh air and park life = brilliant.
There’s one problem, though. Every time we go to this one particular park, Alfie goes straight for the waist strap on the baby swing – you know the one: the safety chain thing covered in clear plastic that you clip around your kid’s tummy. He goes straight for the strap and sucks on it. Hard. It’s really foul, and each time he does it, a little vomit forms in the back of my throat.
I mean, it’s not like he isn’t well fed and that I don’t have a fabulous array of snacks in my backpack soaked in water from the leaking sippy cup. It’s not like there isn’t a variety of sticks and leaves and other ‘natural’ items available that he can put in his mouth. I offer all of the above and pick him up and take him away from the strap, and he LOSES it. Face down on the grass, slamming his fists and feet into the ground. How dare I? He gets back up and runs for the strap. Gross. I repeat the actions above. Then I give up and let him suck at it.
After about five minutes, he gets bored. I’m sitting on the edge of the sandpit waiting for him, trying to hold back my vomit from the strap sucking. Finally he comes around and hangs out with me in the ‘pit, passing me bits of sticks and leaves.
We dig a hole. He has a snack. He tries to put the snack in my mouth, yum. Whatever. We dig some more of the hole. I’m distracted by my phone beeping and I check out a text. He pushes some more of his muesli bar in my mouth. I eat it. Whatever. He goes back to his hole and I start responding to the text message. He pushes something into my mouth. I bite into it thinking it’s the muesli bar but it’s not. It’s a crusty sun-bleached dog shit.
I spit. I squeal and dry wretch. I’m scraping the inside of my mouth and pulling out everything except my tongue. My hand is covered in sand and the texture is making everything worse. The cool mums wearing puffer vests around the edge of the sandpit are staring at me over their soy lattes. Then it happens. I’ve dry wretched so much that I start convulsing. I can’t stop thinking about the poo. I’m horrified. I spew in my kid’s sand bucket.
I get my shit together, realign and refocus. I’m a mum. I sort myself out. I’ve got to. People, including my son, are watching.
I look at my little boy sitting in the massive hole we’ve dug together. He’s laughing at his car as he pushes it through the sand. Perhaps he didn’t notice my behaviour. I pick him up to put him in the SuperTrike and I notice there’s something in his mouth. It’s another piece of the white crusty turd and he’s chewing on it. I try to fish it out. It’s so gross.
We wheel home with our pooey mouths and spewy bucket, through Yarraville village, passing all the parents who look so together. I decide to grab a coffee and when I pull out money from my parka pocket, the miscellaneous condom packet falls out.