Having misspent my teenage years in the 1980s I love the Hoodoo Gurus. When Dave Faulkner sang ” You can’t take me anywhere. I’ll strip down to my underwear. If you give me half a chance” in the 1991 hit Miss FreeLove, I thought it was delightfully risque. A few years down the track I figured the Gurus must have met a former colleague of mine who had tremendous difficulty keeping his pants on at any after hours function. Some twenty years later the song is still as resonant as ever but for different reasons. It makes two salient points about parenting. Firstly ts true you can’t take pre-schoolers any place where public decorum is expected. Secondly they will strip down to their underwear (or better still go the full monty) at the slightest provocation.
Bitter experience has taught me that you can’t take your kids to the following places.
1) Grocery shopping
If they cant be restrained I’d strongly advise against just popping into your local Colesworths with your kids. That five minute diversion to grab some milk can so easily turn into half an hour of the purest form of hell. My girls think that super markets exist solely for their entertainment. On one fraught visit they used our local Woolies as their own personal derby track. I swear I could see the smoke coming off their heels as they raced each other up and down every aisle. Usain Bolt would have had trouble keeping up (he has a much larger turning circle than they do as well as being too large to clamber through shelves).
On an even more embarrassing occasion, the terrible twosome decided that they were going to transform the paper towel aisle in Coles into a cubby house. Dadabulous marched off with the trolley leaving me to deal with the scene of mass destruction. The girls had climbed onto the shelf behind the stacks of paper towel and were nonchalantly knocking them into the aisle. Restraining them would have involved me joining them on the structurally unsound scaffolding. I did what any responsible parent would do. I stood there and laughed. Surprisingly the staff didn’t have the care factor to kick us out.
2) Clothes Shopping
Taking preschoolers clothes shopping is an experience that can cause PTSD in even the calmest most level headed of parents. We need a whole new generation of counselors to deal with this burgeoning issue. Containing them in the change cubicle is next to impossible and the chances of them escaping into the big wide mall are sky high. If they do mange to stay inside the store they will often rummage through the merchandise with their grubby hands whilst you are berated by an irate shop keeper. Its even worse when they decide to play an impromptu game of hide and seek. You go into code red PANIC whilst they are laughing at your hapless tomfoolery from the inside of a size 20 pants leg. Its small wonder that mothers have limited wardrobes.
If the invitation states “kids welcome” don’t take them up on it. Your enjoyment will be seriously curtailed. Not only will you not be able to make the most of the free booze, the potential for embarrassment is off the scale. At the last nuptials we attended P1 spotted the approaching bridal party and being the diva that she is, wanted to be part of the parade. She was appropriately dressed in tulle after all. No amount of explaining that it was the bride’s special day could convince her that she was not allowed to be in the show. I had to physically restrain her from skipping around the bride’s gigantic hooped skirt on the march up the aisle. The ceremony was held in the Camellia Gardens in Miranda. I swear P1s howls of disgust could be heard all the way to Cronulla. Luckily the bride was too high on emotion to notice.
4) Public Swimming Pool
A strict one parent to one child ratio must be adhered to at the local swimming pool. Do not attempt to take two children or more alone. Your sanity will be tested to the very limits. I promise there will be near drowning incidents, skull cracking tumbles on wet concrete and toddlers going MIA. Worse still there will be fights over the pool’s limited supply of noodles. You’ll have to resort to bribery to cox your kids out of the germ ridden waters and have no alternative but to spend your cash on fatty hot chips and ice creams. Heed my warning Mumrades.
5) Long Haul Flights
Fortunately I have never had to endure this brand of cruel and unusual punishment. A girlfriend of mine took her two pre-school boys to Denmark and suffered the 30 hour flight without a wink of sleep. She is scarred for life and so am I just hearing this tale of woe. The thought of my two tired, crank,y pent up girls harassing the cabin crew and racing up and down the aisles for 14 hours or more is too much to contemplate. The queuing at customs at the end is just the ghastly icing on the hell cake. If it means that I’ll have to wait until P1 and P2 are teenagers before my next glamorous European jaunt so be it. Mind you, celebrating my 50th birthday in Paris is something worth waiting for. (hint, hint Dadabulous).
So Mumrades, have you also learned the hard way that there are some places you just can’t take your kids? Regale us with your tales of horror.
I’m thankful for baby sitters this Thursday.