Playgroup is a strange beast – equal parts distraction, gossip, support and escapism.
It’s subject to the same worries and woes of any workplace – clashes of personality, differences of opinion, out and out tiffs.
But lately, I’ve noticed another element creeping into the mix. It’s just a tiny dash of . . . boredom.
I say this in hushed tones for fear of being labelled a traitor. After all, playgroup has been a great source of fun and friendship. It’s meant to be the place where people are at their most understanding and non-judgemental.
But, if I hear another discussion about blankies, dummies or potties, there is a very good chance I will quietly implode.
To explain myself, my youngest child is almost ready for school so a lot of these issues are a distant memory and I’ve worked very hard at forgetting them. And I’m sure I’ve done my share of boring other people with the details, but as of today, I’m declaring a stop to it.
Like fingernails on a chalkboard, the next time I hear one of these topics pop up I will be the person who suddenly and inexplicably volunteers to sift the sandpit for lost toys, clean the cubby with a toothbrush and hunt down that elusive mouse that calls the playgroup kitchen home.
If you’re passing by and see a sudden puff of smoke where a person once stood, you’ll know I didn’t make my escape in time.
Last Sunday the mutiny occurred.
It was an afternoon like any other. The kids had been fed. Their afternoon was organised. I was full of relaxed confidence.
And then . . . there was silence.
Another mum might have reacted sooner. It wasn’t until I spied the paint brushes that I realised something was out of order.
They’d been warned. But like so many times before, the younger pair had chosen to do what they wanted anyway.
Harsh words were spoken before big sister announced:
“That’s it! I’m packing my bags.”
It’s not the first time this threat has been made so I wasn’t tripping over myself to stop her. That is, until some minutes later I heard another, younger voice pipe up:
“Will I need undies?”
It was time to step in. The lecture followed a well trodden path, but little did I know big sister had already convinced her younger brother that he would need to find work in the big, wide world in order to support them.
A few minutes later, I looked out the front window to see him standing at the bottom of the drive with an arm full of magazines ready to become a catalogue delivery person. His eldest sister had joined the party but was ready to reassure when I launched out the front door.
“It’s okay, mum,” she said. “We’ve got our shoes on.”
Never mind the road, the traffic, the unknown neighbours. At least their feet were safe.
I guess I’ve taught them something.