Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Not My Definition of Fun

Imagine, if you will, about a thousand small children and their parents in a confined space.

Add to this approximately 600 prams each the size of a Rav 4.

Add to this one bouncy castle, three face painters and one petting zoo.

Welcome to the Playgroup Annual Fun Day.

If I had read this post before I left the house, I doubt I would have made it past the front door.  A thousand small children?  Sometimes I don't cope with the two I have.

Driving into the carpark, a full ten minutes before the event was due to start should have been warning enough.  Hundreds upon hundreds of cars, predominantly SUVs (I have one, so I can make jokes), all with the tell-tale black sock in the back window, faded to a dull grey.  Many have the 'Little Dude on Board' signs or those family stickers on the back window: GymJunkie Dad, Red-Eyed Mum, Annoying Pre-schooler, Whinging Two-year old, Stretch-mark-making baby. Do they make those stickers?  Maybe they should.

Streaming from these cars, a hoard of pre-schoolers and babies in pram, dragging their mothers along. Dora and Ben10 t-shirts from here to eternity. Nappy bags the size of a small suitcase. Picnic rugs, picnic baskets, bottles of suncream the size of a 4L milk carton.

At least, some people were sensible enough to bring these things.

I remembered the toddler and thought I was doing well.  Afterall, who expects to go to a Fun Day and there BE NO FOOD? I live for cake stalls.

I shouldn't complain because I am a member of Playgroup, have been since the Blonde Bombshell was about 8 months old, and she and Miss Curly Mop love their weekly playgroup sessions.  The Fun Day is totally free, put on by the organisation and full of activities such as a petting zoo, face painting, Scitech stall and bouncy castle. 

But I will complain, because did I mention that there were probably 1000 children?  And three face painters.  You do the math. I'm already good at math.

This was the queue for the face painters 10 minutes after the event opened.
From my vantage spot under a shady tree, toddler still strapped inside her pram, the queue for the face painters stretched like one of my dubious analogies.  I was mightily impressed with the patient children and their patient mothers, but I was wondering how long things would stay calm, until one of the children made a run for it to the front shouting 'My turn!' or a mother snapped and ran shouting 'My sanity!'

It was a short-lived morning for us, the trek back to car an exercise in precision pramming, trying to avoid half-crazed three year olds trying to wedge themselves under the pram wheels.  Above the rumbling of our stomachs, the constant droning of the PA system identifying lost children by the colour of their hair and the superhero on their t-shirt.

If the car park was stuffed full when we arrived, it had vomited by the time we left. The look of resignation in the eyes of mums endlessly circling the carpark turned to manic desperation when they saw us leaving.  I felt sure there would be an incident when two station wagons faced off for my car park.  I will be watching the outcome on the 9 News tonight.

We made it out alive, with our orange playgroup balloon and bag full of brochures about the zoo and baby photographers. And strangely enough, a free dummy. Perhaps they were included to quell the cries of of hungry toddlers.

* This post is dedicated to my good friend Louise, who told me in no uncertain terms that I need to write more because there is nothing decent on TV.

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