I don’t know how you play it when a kid pushes your kid in the playground, but me? First and foremost, I check to see if the kid's mum’s watching, and how big she is, and if could I take her in a fight. It’s only once all boxes are ticked/crossed that I’ll give the kid a little nip, and a glare, and possibly a veiled threat (or an unveiled one, depending on the severity of the crime. Just last week I was at a play centre, and a little girl pushed Frankie and then kneed - fucking KNEED - Alice, and, once I’d established the mum situation, I flew to the top of the jungle gym to threaten the kid with all manner of unrepeatable threats).
My mum, on the other hand, doesn’t give a SHIT about other parents. Never has. We were at a playground this week, and I was tinkering on my phone (soz), and suddenly I heard "oi Oi OI, you little GIT" and saw my mum speeding across the sandpit in a way unbecoming for a 60-year-old nanna. And I went cold, because I had a sudden flashback to the Channel 7 Teddy Bears' Picnic circa 1985, when a man - a dad, presumably, although child protection laws were admittedly rather more lax back in the 80s - took me off the merry-go-round and replaced me with his own kid. Can you imagine if he tried that shit in 2015? Facebook would melt, and Today Tonight would have to cancel all scheduled programming for the forseeable. My mum went apeshit. I mean, yes, most mums would go apeshit in that situation, but my mum went PROPER APESHIT, to the point where the man threatened to call the police. I remember that. I also remember not sleeping that night, waiting for the local constabulary’s knock at the front door. My mum laughed when I reminded her of this, and admitted that she did ‘go for him, yes’, which made me worry a little more about how this modern-day playground situation was going to unfold.
I’m ashamed to say I hid. I HID behind a concrete elephant, as my mum went right up to a small girl child - no older than six - and called her - yes - a little git, and told her what she’d do if she tried touching Alice again (unrepeatable). Which - again - reminded me of the time Christian Van Der KEMPT (not his real name! Close, but not quite, not since I got an email from someone whose name I DIDN’T change in a blog post, and Paul decided it was time to get a solicitor on speed dial) kept pinching me in Mrs Macri’s year one class, so my dad took him to one side for a little chat one day after school. Again, child protection laws weren’t what they are today, and my dad’s mafia-style intervention did the trick. Christian Van Der KEMPT never pinched this kid again!
Back to 2015, and a health-and-safety-passed playground, and my mum threatening a small girl … under the watchful gaze of HER mum (I mean the kid’s mum, not my mum’s mum. If my mum’s mum - Nanny Ivy - had been there, the kid’s feet wouldn’t be touching the fucking floor, she’d have smacked her so far on to Wanneroo Rd. Nanny Ivy is fierce). Anyway, I just stood very still and tried to blend in with the concrete elephants because I knew that this could not end well. The git mother was in a gang of mummas - a mothers’ group, if you will - so she had her army ready and prepared. My mum was on her own, cos there was no way I was going to admit to knowing her.
Things took a turn for the worse when the little git ran up to her mum and started crying and pointing at my mum, and I prayed to the good lord that I don’t believe in to open up the earth and swallow me up, but - and here’s the bit that almost could restore your faith in the almighty - the mother didn’t speak English! Not very well, anyway! I mean, well enough to order a coffee in Waldecks, yes, but not well enough to understand the underlying connotations of ‘oi oi oi, you little git’. Good eh?
Also, the fact that her daughter was a little git was obviously old news, because git mum just rolled her eyes and sent the kid over to apologise. Apologise!
Rest assured, this could’ve ended very differently. It could’ve been the Channel 7’s Teddy Bears’ Picnic all over. But today? Today we got lucky.