I'll try phrasing this right - am I allowed to pick up kids to help them reach something on the playground if their parents aren't around?
The pool my daughter swims at twice a week is next to a playground. All the kids who swim get there thirty minutes early. As do I with my kids - purely based around my neurosis that if I'm not thirty minutes early then I'm officially late. Anyhoo - the adult who brings them is still in high school - and as nice as she seems to be she isn't interested in watching them on a playground. My son is two and a half years old so is considerably smaller than the other kids there. Some of whom are ten years old. So when there are 35 kids running around like feral cats he asks me to follow him around the playground. Which is fine - it gives me an excuse to try out the slides that I'd want to try out anyway. And it grants me permission not to talk with the collective of curious women about why I - a man - am home with children. I like how they eye me suspiciously. Then I say something out loud in posh English and you can literally see their thought process that concludes that English men that take care of kids aren't dangerous lunatics. It's either that or that thing were they realize I'm foreign - ergo not a real man anyway.
But it also presents another issue. There are usually two or three other moms there. But most of the kids are milling about under limited supervision. And yet there I am - not just an adult but to some of them I'm their friend's dad - on the playground. Not only that but I'm seemingly happy to lift my son up to grab stuff he can't reach. Which nearly always then leads to a line of children appearing waiting for me to lift them up. I don't really mind in one sense. But it does break one of my other rules for kids at least my daughter's age - which is if you can't do it because you're too small then you probably aren't supposed to be doing it. Also I've been at playgrounds a lot lately with other parents and kids. There's a sliding scale for some parents. They're protective in the sense that they don't want their kid climbing the ladder lest they fall and cripple themselves. They probably know that 99 times out of 100 nothing will happen. But they also believe the statistical certainty that things that can only happen 1 time out of 100 always happen 9 times out of ten. And then there are the parents that behave as if everyone else there near their child is trying to abduct and harm them. I've just happened to be nearest to a kid that was falling off something and put my hands out to support them. Their parent has then rocketed across the wood-chips to protect their child from me (they've probably seen my Facebook videos - that tends to sway things...). So it doesn't pass me by that I'm in a position where I'm harmlessly helping a kid reach a monkey bar that is definitely safe to be on - but that their parents may have extremely strong feelings about anyone their kids don't know being within three feet of them.
There's also the fact that other people's kids are unpleasant in almost every way. Weirdly dressed, strangely behaved, wobbling, slimy beasts the lot of them Not my kids obviously. My impeccable, beautiful little angels are a sight to behold. Clean, polite, and a magical delight. Take my son here - cooling off after a wander about the back yard. That thing he's eating is considered to be one of the finest ice cream bar things that people can eat in the US. It's a Klondike bar. Which is pretty much a choc-ice. I've seen people go mental about how wonderful they think they are. I can't go mental-excited over something that my nan - a working class woman to her very core - ate on an almost daily basis. Incidentally my son has started saying, "great job Daddy!" at the weirdest moments. Like when he finds me in the bathroom or when I've successfully gotten up off the floor. Or when I've wiped the lake of ice cream that looks like clown makeup off his face.
We spent most of our early-afternoon sweltering outside. The kids didn't splash about for quite a bit - my daughter preferring to be extremely girly with her bizarre doll that is also a butterfly. She's named her Princess Wincess. Here she is learning to pump her legs to make a swing move.
I tried to dig holes in the front garden for my wife's latest round of plants. But my son didn't want to do that. He wanted to carry watering cans of water with me to the vegetable garden. The garden actually looks pretty bloody good. We've eaten all the peas, been noshing on the lettuce and greens for some time, and been thoroughly enjoying the broccoli. Here - the spuds are probably good to eat now.
Even the tomatoes are making an early appearance.
But not as early as the pumpkins. My wife seems to have succeeded in the first war with the beetles that like to eat these sorts of things. I'm sure they'll be back in a few days though.
But neither the tomatoes or pumpkins are as early and annoying as the bloody walnuts. Two of the trees around the house are absolutely loaded with the bloody things. They're dropping at a bigger and bigger size every day. It's probably about a week from being actually dangerous to stand under the trees. My son has already been twatted by a bunch that fell.
Oddly the one tree is producing butternut walnuts (the white ones). Which are actually very nice indeed once farted about with. This one though looks like the Jolly Green Giant's testicle.
Anyhoo - I mentioned in an earlier entry about my daughter's charitable gamesmanship. Here she is commenting on my alleged rotundity.
And here's some bonus trash talk for you.