I’d never encountered playground politics before a recent outing to the local sandbox.
It was late afternoon, on a weekend, around 4:00pm. There were two little girls who were obviously brought together at the park this day for the benefit of their mothers. As usual, Dylan was the only little boy on the playground. Um hey, moms of boys, what is up with that?! I mean seriously. Mini dudes love to slide down slides and give you heart attacks climbing up/on/over all the metal things. Dylan doesn’t have any idea about it yet, but he flirts like a motherfucker on the playground with the little girls.
I never see anyone in this particular park who was unkempt, slubby, frumpy, or the likes because it is a see and be seen sort of spot. Apparently, and especially, on this particular day.
I kid you not, if it were socially acceptable in every corner of the world for men to wear high heels in the sandbox, I think they few dads I saw that day would have been sporting fuck me pumps. But they’d probably be wearing white, cotton socks with them too because men and footwear are good-for-nothing allies.
I spotted two moms over by the slide so I made my way over to eavesdrop more effectively. That’s what I do at the playground while I’m watching my kid not murder any of the other kids. One of the women was obviously a free spirit from what I could hear of their conversations.
“Tessa wants nothing to do with a protein-rich diet.”
Actually I think you mean your daughter doesn’t like meaty, beef steaks. We are not in your pediatrician’s office, no one is impressed when you refer to your daughter’s obsession with kale smoothies like you’re reading Chicken Soup for the Organic Toddler’s Soul. I bet she also wants nothing to do with Slim Jim because she hates America and puppies.
Regardless of their children’s food snobbery, these two looked like slobs. One of them was even wearing a fanny pack. And not like a Gucci leather “waist purse”. I’m talking, nineteen-ninety-called-and-they-want-their-fashion-fad-back fanny pack. It was neon, probably. Had I not been wearing my bedazzled fanny pack (or what I like to call my FANCY pack) that day, I would have asked myself if this woman knew I was ready to rumble or just had a penchant for low fashion.
I took a break from eavesdropping and eye rolling to pay attention to my child. My child who was, in that very moment, being choked from behind by peanut butter hating Tessa. I waited a second to see if Dylan would do a swift one-two punch or if he was going to need me to step in to offer my best sleeper hold on a two-year-old. He needed some help.
Against my first instinct, I opted to kindly intervene.
“Okay, how about we let him go down the slide and then you can show me how fast you can go down the slide!”
Tessa’s mom, probably from hearing all of the child supervision going on in the general area of her child, huffs her way over complete with stomping feet.
“What do you think you’re doing, lady?!”
I stood there in shock because I realized I was about to channel my inner Chuck Norris, having an onlooking parent “hold my fancy pack” while I threw down. I was about to lay it down to Snarky McSnarkpants.
“She was choking him and wouldn’t let him go down the slide. I was just helping them play a little more nicely.”
She shot back without skipping a beat and I swear on everything holy there were laser beams shooting straight out of her eyeballs. But not the cool kind of laser beams you’d see at a hologram concert of TuPac. Like shark murderers with laser beams installed right between their eyes.
“Tessa would NEVER do something like that!”
Ooh, ouch, um, apparently, she is into that sort of thing. Good luck with that come puberty. I hearing choking fetishes are all the rage these days among the teens.
With a pleasant close mouthed smile, Dylan and I made our way onto the other side of the play set to go down the big windy slide that he loves so much.
Bella, Tessa’s friend, was playing on this slide. What happened next could have shocked the pants right off of me, but from what looked like Bella’s biggest talent, she may have handled the dirty work for me.
Bella was de-pantsing the other girls and loudly exclaiming, “I can see your pagina!”
The other little girls kept yelling at her to stop because what human being likes having their pagina flashed for all the world to see?! Bella’s mom decided she should probably say something before all the kids went home with slide burn and indecent exposure charges at the hand of her daughter that afternoon.
“Bella, please don’t do that…her father teaches her the most horrible things.”
Bella continued to flash other kids ‘paginas’ for a solid five minutes at least. Because when a mother yells at her child for flashing other children’s no-no zones on the slide, she’s going to take your “five more minutes to do whatever it is you’re doing over there” and run with it.
All I have to say, thank god for little boys* and their will to kick soccer balls and throw rocks.
*Pagina not included.